Work wants me to get my CDL

My work ‘requires’ us to get our Commercial Drivers Licenses. We are expected to drive children around for Summer Camp. We also occassionally drive adults around for Leadership Excursions. Both of these things are very regimented days where the really is not much room for being late (i.e. pulling over for a low).

I know that in NC, if you are on insulin, you aren’t allowed to get a CDL without jumping through hoops. I work for a city government though, and they will allow the city to override this.

I’m scared to get my CDL. I already have this great fear of people riding in the car with me… so driving a BUS is even more worrisome. I get low. I get to 49 mg/dl and have to spend 20 or 30 minutes having to correct. I get high, and have headaches for hours because of it.

I’m worried that if I get my CDL, I’ll run my numbers high just so I won’t have to be a burden on the people that I’m driving. And this makes me mad, because I’M the one who will one day suffer the consequences.

My boss is a t2, so I think she would be okay with waiving this requirement (she doesn’t have her CDL either). I just don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses. I’m not sure she really understands how different t1 and t2 are.

Sorry for the long post, I’ve just had this on my mind for a while. Any suggestions?

I wouldn't want that responsibility if I was perfectly healthy. Diabetes has nothing to do with it.

Write out the hoops. What are they? A doctor's signature on a form?
Get a Dexcom. If the job is worth it, a Dexcom is even more so! It provides such good information about what follows eating specific foods that it's easier to be precise with the insulin to carb gram ratio. Fewer highs. Fewer lows. No running high! No anger!
My fantasy is that all T1s CDLs will have CGMs! Great for driving.

Afraid to say this, but you should check with your DMV. Some states ban diabetics for commercial driving.

The big question; is your diabetes stable enough to hold these lives in your hands? We ALL do that eveyrday, anytime we drive.

There are also protections in the law to help. ADA looms large, and can they require the CDL if you have a "disability?"

Thank you all for the input!

Cosumne Jan: I don’t necessarily want the responsibility either way, but I think I’d be waaay more apt to do it if I didn’t have all of the diabetes elements to consider.

Leo2: I do have a Dexcom and I am very much in love with it!! I have to believe that looking at the Dexcom while driving around a busload of children might be dangerous! Ha! I also have to realize that even though it helps to monitor my sugars, it still can’t prevent lows. Thus, making me feel like I need to run high so I don’t inconvenience my riders.

Spcok: I’m in NC and T1s are banned from getting CDL’s. However, since I work for City Government, they decided to let the City Government rules override DMV rules. My department has never faced this issue before so my boss just said ‘go for it.’ As for my control – My sugars are actually in wonderful control, as my husband and I have been preparing for a while to start a family. My boss knows that, and I think that’s why she wants me to go for the CDL. What I don’t think she understands is even with ‘wonderful control’… we still get lows. Even scary lows! The difference with me driving me or my husband around versus a busload of people on a mission is that I can pull over at my own leisure. I’m just more comfortable.

lewisandclark: Thank you for the advice! I see my endo in July, and am thinking about telling my supervisor that I do have some concerns and that I’d like to talk to my doctor before I move forward.

Again, thank you all!!

Carlyn look at the fed DOT book.My work also wants me to get my CDL.From what I am told any T1 must have a doc sign off and is good for only 6months for DOT phisical card.

Laws are being loosened on CDL issue and DOT physical examinations to get them. Laws very from state to state, but in general, if you are driving a vehicle with a passenger capacity of less than 16 passengers,including the driver, you do NOT need a CDL to operate the vehicle. If the vehicle has a capacity of 16 passengers and over, including the driver, you must have a CDL to legally operate the vehicle. If the vehicle you are operating has a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) rating of 26,001 or over. If the vehicle is a school bus, is yellow in colour, and is identified as a school bus in the front ant back, and is equipped with an eight light/stop arm warning system, you must have a CDL with a school bus endorsement to operate that vehicle. Often the school bus endorsement requires a passenger endorsement as well. You will need a passenger endorsement to drive the vehicle as you have described.

To obtain a CDL, you need to take a written and driving test in the largest vehicle that you will be expected to drive. Before your driven test, you will need to provide the examination station a copy of your DOT Physical examination, and this is where the snag come in. If you are a type 2 and are controlling with diet, exercise and oral medications only, a CDL is no problem, nor is the accompanying physical examination. If you are type one or an insulin-dependent type 2, you can get a DOT physical. Your intenist or endo can give you this, or you can go to a Nurse-Practitioner, Chiropractor or any walk-in clinic. Type ones need to have a set of forms signed from your endo, and they will describe your control, medications, vision, etc. IT looks like a bunch of hoops to jump, but really, it isn't bad. I have done this in Minnesota, where they have some of the toughest driver's license regulations in the country. Once licensed, when driving a commercial vehicle, you will need to carry glucose tabs with you along with your license and DOT Physical card in order for your license to be valid.

I would go for it, were I you. Get all the licensing you can and keep it current. I think getting a CDL as a diabetic is one more "I'm diabetic and I CAN do this!"

Good luck, and let us know how things turn out.

Brian Wittman

You are not making excuses. You are taking responsibility for yourself and what you feel that you can and cannot reasonably do while on the job.

No supervisor should put an employee in a position that endangers her or puts her in a position that endangers others.

If you truly feel that driving the bus is beyond what you can manage you should tell your manager this. Tell her clearly and without making any kind of apology.

I agree with Corinna- your boss should respect your circumstances, as long as you explain them to him (without apologies, as it is not your fault you have diabetes!).

First of all, I think if you feel uncomfortable doing it and you are able to get out of it, you should. I did at a job I had 15 years ago.

But, I also think that running a little high for something like that (assuming it's not an every day thing) makes sense to me. I always let myself run a little high for things like dental work, and also if I'm going to be driving long distances. If I'm just popping on and off the highway, I feel like I can just do a test and not worry about it, but if I'm going to be driving for two hours, I run a bit high. It's scary to think of having to drive a number of other people around, but the truth of the matter is that you are always endangering a number of people if you're not as careful as you need to be about your blood sugar.

Would this be an every day thing? If so, I would try to find a way out of it.