When you're out on the road in your car, do you ever look at the big rig traveling next to you and wonder if the driver is safe, medically speaking, to be driving? Hopefully, you'll never have reason to find out. However, if you're ever in an accident with a truck, that's one of the first questions you should be asking. This is what you should know.
Who Is Checking Up On The Health Of The Nation's Drivers?
Truck drivers are held to a different standard than drivers of other vehicles, not only because they are operating heavier vehicles that have the potential to cause devastating injuries, but because their profession simply demands that they spend more time on the road than others.
In order to qualify for a commercial driver's license (CDL), truck drivers have to pass an extensive medical exam. They have to be re-examined prior to renewing it as well. The medical examination includes things like drug testing and vision testing, but it also checks for other things that could impact a driver's ability to safely navigate the roads. That includes things like hypertension, diabetes, neurological problems, hearing problems, missing limbs, and epilepsy. The driver is also required to report if he or she has suffered anything like a heart attack, stroke, sleep apnea, dizziness or seizures. They are also questioned about mental illness.
Effective mid-2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has began requiring first-time CDL applicants and those seeking renewals to be examined by doctors who are in the agency's registry. The agency is also requiring medical examiners to electronically submit the drivers' medical records to the National Registry.
Why Are These Changes Necessary To Ensure Roadway Safety?
What FMCSA is hoping to do is to put an end to the ability of truck drivers to either "doctor shop" until they find a doctor willing to overlook a potential medical problem or falsify their medical records altogether in order to keep driving.
The reality is that trucking isn't the healthiest of occupations and truck drivers often aren't the healthiest drivers on the road. The lifestyle is sedentary, and greasy fast food meals are common. There is a lot of pressure to meet deadlines, long hours, and too little sleep. The average life expectancy of a trucker is only 61 years. Diabetes is 50% more common among truckers than it is among non-truckers, and hypertension is common.
For someone whose livelihood depends on their ability to keep a CDL, however, the temptation to try to get around restrictive medical requirements can be strong. Even though lying about their medical history in order to pass the requirements for the CDL is a crime, some are willing to take that risk. In a recent incident, a trucker from Georgia who was fired from his job due to a medical problem found employment the very next day by lying about his medical history to a different employer. A month later, a Minnesota trucker was declared an imminent hazard to public safety after he revealed that, prior to a fatal crash, he'd experienced 6 previous incidents where his medical problems had caused problems with his driving.
Incidents like those suggest that any time there is an accident involving a truck, the driver's medical history should be closely examined to determine if he or she has been deceptive, omitted information when talking to the certifying physician, or falsified records to obtain or keep a CDL. If you've been in an accident involving a truck, don't guess about the cause. Talk to an attorney, like Teresa P Williams PA, to find out what can be done to determine if the driver's medical condition played a role.Share
10 December 2015
Hi, my name is Sally. I was living a pretty average, uneventful life until I had an accident. At that point, my life become more stressful and painful than I could have ever imagined. Sadly, my accident happened on private property, and it could have been prevented if the owner of the property had kept up with his shoveling. For months, I missed work, suffered through constant pain and become more and more depressed. Finally, a friend referred me to an accident and injury lawyer, and she showed me how to get the compensation that I deserved. I don't want to see anyone else suffer like I did, and because of that, I decided to create this blog. Here, I hope anyone who has been injured can find the information they need to get fully compensated and regain their lives. Enjoy your reading and thanks for stopping by!