New U.S. blood pressure rules for drivers takes effect

WASHINGTON, (Sept. 29, 2004) — New Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guidelines on blood pressure for truck drivers go into effect tomorrow.

The changes, may affect the ability of a driver with hypertension to operate a commercial vehicle.

Some highlights include:

Drivers with blood pressure of less than 140/90 can be medically certified; drivers whose BP runs between 140/190 and 159/99, Stage 1, can get one year certification, but require a DOT certification exam each year thereafter.

Drivers with readings between 160/100 and 179/109, Stage 2, can only be certified for three months and must seeks assistance from their doctors to lower the reading. If the driver seeks treatment and produces a reading below 140/90, they can acquire the one-year certification.

Drivers with BP over 180/110 are medically disqualified. At that level — Stage 3 — drivers must seek treatment in order to get their reading below 140/90 to receive a six-month certification.

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