Medical Certificate for CDL

Understanding Disqualifying Factors in Commercial Driver Medical Exams

It is important for commercial drivers to be aware of issues that may disqualify them during their Commercial Driver Medical Exams. Some examples of conditions that are disqualifying include diabetes with recent history of low blood sugar, epilepsy of unknown type, major psychiatric disorders, active drug or alcohol abuse, kidney failure, certain sleep disorders, severe brain trauma, and sustained ventricular tachycardia. There are also a number of disqualifying medications including seizure medicines, certain antidepressants, stimulants that are not used for ADHD, and Schedule 1 drugs like marijuana and LSD. If you have any of these conditions or take any of these medication and are seeking Commercial Driver Medical Certification Florida, it is critical to see an experienced examiner who can give you accurate information about your options.

In the case of medical conditions that may be problematic, it is very important for candidates to provide a thorough history on the form for the Commercial License Medical Exam. Every problem should include the date of onset, the diagnosis given by the healthcare provider, who the treating provider is, and any current medications being taken. For medications, the name, dose, frequency, and start date should be included along with any side effects experienced.


High blood pressure can be disqualifying. There are three stages of high blood pressure, the highest of which is stage 3 which is systolic pressure 180 or more or diastolic pressure of 110 or more. Stage 3 is disqualifying and requires prompt medical attention. Once Stage 3 is resolved for 6 months, a candidate can be reconsidered. Stage 2 is systolic 160 to 179 or diastolic 100 to 109. A candidate with Stage 2 can receive a Medical Certificate for CDL for up 3 months and must be better controlled at the recheck. Stage 1, which is systolic 140 to 159 or diastolic 90 to 99, can be certified for 1 year the first time but then only 3 months if it persists to the next exam.


Many other conditions have an allowed certification of only one year instead of the typical 2 years for a healthy candidate.  Some of these include many heart conditions, stroke, blood clots in the leg, and effectively treated mental health conditions.  Conditions that require one year wait before the applicant can be considered include heart transplant, stroke, depression with suicide attempt, a surgically repaired aneurism, central nervous system infection, and mild traumatic brain injury.

Several medical conditions require certification by a treating provider before a medical certificate can be granted. Some of these include mental disorders including antidepressant use, eye diseases, heart or lung conditions, obstructive sleep apnea, neurologic conditions, and diabetes. If you have one or more of these conditions, strongly consider a consult with an experienced examiner prior to having your physical. The examiner can review what documentation you will need to ensure that avoidable delays and cost in the certification process are prevented. Typically, information from the treating provider should include the information previously mentioned (onset date, diagnosis, provider name, and medications) along with prognosis and expect course of the condition. If changes in treatment are anticipated, what and when these are expected should be included.


Candidates with diabetes need to be aware of the specific requirements for diabetics and what to bring to the exam. In order to receive the full two-year Commercial Driver Medical Certification, they must provide documentation of a HBA1c blood test result less than 10. They must not have had low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in the past 12 months or two or more episodes in the past five years. A note from the treating provider including this information plus stating there have been no other manifestations of diabetes is key to certification. If there are other systems impacted by the diabetes, like the eyes, nerves, or kidneys, notes from those specialists should also be obtained including the detail status information previously described.


Candidates with neurological conditions also should know about what to expect and how to prepare. Conditions like seizure, stroke, brain tumor, brain injury, or brain aneurism require a detailed note from a recent neurologic evaluation and, along with the previously described requirements, should include any results of brain testing including imaging like MRIs or CT scans. Status of strength, sensation, and motor abilities like walking and lifting should also be detailed. In particular, prehension and power grasping are considered important abilities for a driver so if a specialist can assess and describe this, it will help the examiner make a decision. Any impact on vision must be explained.  

If you have questions about getting a Medical Certificate for CDL, including disqualifying conditions, wait times, or certification durations, feel free to call us at (727) 648-2402 or email us at If you would like to make an appointment, you can call us or make one online from