News Stories

Effects of heart disease, high BP on commercial driver guidelines

Heart disease and stroke are two of the most serious medical conditions that can lead to sudden incapacity of a commercial motor vehicle driver and potential highway accident.

  • By Dr. Joel Blanchard
  • Apr 25, 2017

Heart disease and stroke are two of the most serious medical conditions that can lead to sudden incapacity of a commercial motor vehicle driver and potential highway accident.

If a driver has heart disease, it’s important to treat it to reduce the driver’s risk of sudden incapacity. Certain extra tests are required of drivers diagnosed with heart attack or chest pain from the heart known as angina.

A driver suffering a heart attack is immediately placed on a two-month waiting period before driving again. The driver needs an echocardiogram to make sure there is no heart failure and a stress test to verify the heart disease is under control. Then, every two years, the driver needs a stress test to assess risk for another heart attack. If the stress test shows signs of heart blockage, the driver can’t drive again until the condition is treated and stabilized.

Drivers undergoing heart bypass are disqualified for driving for three months. In this case, drivers are not required to have a stress test until five years after the bypass at which point an annual stress test is required to make sure the blockage has not returned.