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April 12, 2024

IDOT Permits Narcolepsy-Diagnosed Employee To Drive IDOT Vehicles – IL-OSHA Didn’t Investigate –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On May 22, 2023

Franklin Co., Ill. (ECWd) –

Last fall, an employee of Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) District 9 filed a complaint with Illinois Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“IL-OSHA”) alleging that IDOT was permitting an employee who had been diagnosed with Narcolepsy to operate IDOT heavy equipment and vehicles on Illinois highways.

From the Complaint:

  • a complaint was filed alleging a hazard in the workplace of a know diagnosed Narcoleptic CDL holder
  • IDOT had ruled because the individual was medicated, they were safe enough to operate heavy equipment and CDL vehicles on and along state routes
  • that the diagnosis alone disqualifies you from having a CDL with the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (“FMSA”) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”)

From IL-OSHA’s Response:

  • IL_OSHA has not determined whether the hazard exists at your workplace and DOES NOT intend to conduct an inspection at this time
  • IL_OSHA asked IDOT to conduct their own investigation and report their findings
  • IL-OSHA reviewed IDOT’s response, which indicated the operator was evaluated by a doctor and was considered “fit for duty” with no restrictions and also provided the conditions on maintaining fit for duty status
  • IL-OSHA has no standard on medical conditions for the operation of a vehicle, and do not question the determination of a licensed healthcare professional, and that they must trust that the medical doctor made the proper determination

The United State Department of Transportation website indicates that “guidelines recommend disqualifying a CMV driver with a diagnosis of Narcolepsy, regardless of treatment because of the likelihood of excessive daytime somnolence.”

According to, between 2015 and 2018, five individuals had requested the FMCSA permit them to operate under a CDL while diagnosed with Narcolepsy and all five were denied. Current FMCSA regulations forbid the operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce by persons with either a clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other condition that is likely to cause a loss of consciousness or any loss of ability to control a CMV, or a mental, nervous, organic, or functional disease or psychiatric disorder likely to interfere with his/her ability to drive a CMV safely.”

In 2022, the USDOT’s FMCSA DENIED another request for an exemption of a diagnosed Narcoleptic even after she indicated she was under a doctor’s care and was medicated with stimulants.

One point of interest is that the USDOT and FMCSA only regulate “interstate” commerce, meaning the traveling outside of a specific state, and do not necessarily regulate CDL drivers who stay within the state they are licensed in.

Illinois Secretary of State rules for intrastate (within the state of Illinois) CDL drivers reflect:

  • CDL Intrastate Only Restriction (K)-No Interstate CMV driving (CDL/CLP) — If a driver certifies that their CDL medical status is Intrastate (NA or EA), a K restriction will be placed on their CDL/CLP, indicating that they are not permitted to operate a CMV in interstate commerce or in multiple states. This restriction only applies to CDL vehicles and CDL/CLP drivers.

We have no indication of whether the driver in question has or does not have a K restriction on his CDL license.



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  • Dave
    Posted at 09:48h, 22 May

    I smell union privilege

  • SC
    Posted at 13:55h, 22 May

    I thought state workers sleeping on the job was a time honored tradition.

  • Robert O. Bogue
    Posted at 07:27h, 23 May

    “Nice” answer from IDOT, but IDOT workers, highway maintainers, by their job description, are required to drive on and work on, and even to provide traffic control during accidents on interstate routes. I believe that is the part of the CDL license regulated by the feds.
    District 9 includes the counties of Alexander, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Harden, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, White, and Williamson. There are plenty of Interstate miles there.
    Suggest a foia for the individual’s job description. If the person cannot perform all of the tasks within the job description, well, others have had his problem and lost their jobs why shoud this person be any different?.

  • GLG
    Posted at 15:55h, 02 June

    Every winter IDOT violates the Federal Hours of Service Law by making plow drivers work more than 10 hours! 12 hour shifts are the norm, Many times after working all day eight hours, Plow

    drivers can and are routinely called back for snow and ice control operations after they have worked a full day. IDOT says this is an emergency situation but they never can show the

    employee the law that says they can violate the HOS law.