The U.S. Department of Transportation sets forth health and medical standards for the holders of Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) drivers.  While many of the health requirements are physical in nature, some involve mental health, and can prevent the issuance or retention of a license. The restrictions are designed to secure the health and safety of truck drivers, as well as others using the road. The mental health conditions that can result in denial of a CDL include Meinere’s disease, oxygen therapy, and some other mental illnesses.

Commercial truck driving can be stressful and demanding and may not be appropriate for everyone, including those with certain mental health conditions. Therefore, anyone considering a career in truck driving should discuss their medical history and concerns with their doctor and a qualified truck driving instructor or employer to determine if it is a good fit for them.

If a truck driver has been involved in any truck accidents caused due to mental illness or wants to learn more about the FMCSA guidelines, they can take help from an experienced truck accident lawyer.

Truck driver mental illness

Common Mental Health Issues In Truck Drivers

According to recent research, 28% of truck drivers experience loneliness, 27% suffer from depression, 21% suffer from chronic sleep disturbances, 13% suffer from emotional problems, and 14.5% suffer from anxiety. Truck driving is a high-stress occupation that can affect a truck driver’s mental health. Some common mental health issues include:

  • Depression: Depression is a common mental health issue that affects many people, including truck drivers. Long hours on the road, social isolation, and job stress can contribute to sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety can also be a problem for truck drivers, who may worry about meeting deadlines, navigating unfamiliar routes, or encountering dangerous road conditions. These worries can lead to feelings of fear, panic, and anxiety.
  • Insomnia: Many truck drivers struggle with sleep problems, including insomnia. Irregular sleep patterns, noise, other disruptions, and the need to sleep in unfamiliar environments can contribute to sleep deprivation.
  • Substance Abuse: Some truck drivers turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with the stress of the job. Substance abuse can have severe consequences for the driver’s health and safety and the safety of other drivers on the road.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Truck drivers may be exposed to traumatic events, such as accidents or witnessing accidents, which can lead to PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, and feelings of detachment or numbness.

Truck drivers must prioritize their mental health and should seek help if they struggle with these issues. Finding help can include seeking support from family and friends, seeing a mental health professional, or accessing employee assistance programs offered by trucking companies.

What are the FMCSA’s Mental Health Requirements For Truck Drivers?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation, specifies the mental health requirements for commercial truck drivers in the United States. The regulations are designed to ensure drivers are physically and mentally fit to operate a commercial vehicle. 

Commercial truck drivers’ primary mental health requirements include no disqualifying mental health conditions and no current use of antidepressants or other antipsychotic drugs. 

Moreover, truck drivers must not have any history of substance abuse, such as alcohol or illegal use of drugs. Truck drivers must undergo a thorough medical exam every two years. The medical tests determine whether a driver is physically and medically fit or not. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) can also give exemptions for truck drivers who don’t initially meet the medical standards, through further medical evaluation and other relevant analyses.   

Need Legal Help? Contact An Experienced Law Firm Today

If truck drivers want to seek administrative help in getting or keeping their CDL, schedule a free consultation to discuss all your concerns, fill out our contact form and get answers to your queries, or by calling 210-972-3834.