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Driving with Diabetes

posted by TrueNorth Transportation on Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Driving with Diabetes

Driving with diabetes just got a little easier

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)—the lead federal government agency responsible for regulating commercial motor vehicles—has issued a final rule revising existing regulations. This ruling permits individuals with a stable insulin regimen and properly controlled insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) to be qualified to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce.

With less than 5,000 individuals currently qualified, the former exemption program was very costly and ineffective. It is estimated by the FMCSA that these 5,000 individuals spent an accumulative $5 million dollars per year to maintain their exemption status. Streamlining the process, the revised regulation allows diabetic insulin users—who are also currently driving at a local or statewide level—to potentially qualifying for interstate driving. The FMCSA estimates over 189,000 individuals operating commercial motor vehicles have chosen not to participate in FMCSA or state-based exemption programs.1 The revised regulation is expected to significantly reduce the FMCSA’s cost to manage the program—to the tune of more than $1 million per year!

A review of the final rule reveals the following: 

  • There is no longer a "blanket" prohibition regarding insulin use by Commerical Drivers License (CDL) drivers.
  • A federal diabetes exemption is no longer needed.
  • A simpler, less burdensome two-step certification process will be required:
    • Evaluation by a treating clinician, who completes a new form (MCSA-5870)
    • Examination of the completed form by a Certified Medical Examiner (CME)
  • Treating clinicians are required to obtain three months of digital blood glucose records for the patient using insulin and provide a detailed medical assessment. 
  • If the form is approved by a CME, a driver may receive certification for up to 12 months.
  • To review the complete fule published by the FMCSA, visit the Federal Register
  • For a brief webinar overview of the new rule, visit FMCSA.

It is estimated that there are 30.3 million people (9.4% of the US population) that have diabetes.2 Perhaps a more significant fact is that 23.8% of those with diabetes are undiagnosed!2 Within the commercial driving population, 14.4% of those surveyed in a large national study, self-reported having diabetes.3 According to the American Trucking Association, there are approximately 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the US.4 These statistics would indicate that over 500,000 professional truck drivers in the US have a diabetes diagnosis. It’s likely that a far greater percentage of drivers have undiagnosed diabetes due to the fact that 69% of those surveyed were obese and nearly 51% were cigarette smokers—risk factors that can lead to diabetes. 3

Clearly, the transportation industry faces a difficult challenge in keeping its workers healthy, particularly regarding the prevention and treatment of diabetes. The good news is that significant advancement has been made in the treatment of diabetes—targeted education regarding a healthy lifestyle, medication, and technology that is designed to assist diabetes patients in managing their disease.

Please join us on Monday, February 11 for a one-hour webinar as we briefly review the revised regulations regarding how patients being treated with insulin may qualify for a CDL. 

The focus of the webinar will relate the challenges faced by truck drivers with diabetes as they record their blood sugar, manage their diet, and communicate with their medical provider while on the road. Our partners at OneTouch® will explain their exciting FDA-approved technology, OneTouch Reveal®. Plus, an in-app diabetes coach, that can be deployed by employers to help their employees with diabetes effectively manage their disease and meet the blood sugar record-keeping requirements of the new regulation.

  Register Here  

For a brief overview of the technology, please ask your TrueNorth account manager to set up a webinar demo. You can also visit to learn more about diabetes and the portfolio of products, solutions, and resources available to you and your employees from the makers of OneTouch. 



The information contained within this document is intended to convey general information only, and is not intended to, and should not be relied upon, to serve as legal or medical advice.  The reader is strongly encouraged to seek the opinion of legal counsel of his or her own choosing for a complete and accurate review of the subject matter set forth herein, including, but not limited to, the exact content of, and legal implications regarding, the final ruling referenced above and any applicable Federal Regulations associated therewith.  

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