According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), large trucks covered 288 million miles in 2016. Given the sheer number of these vehicles on the road and the amount of road they travel each year, it’s important that truck drivers be in good physical health. This is why federal rules are in place regarding the medical fitness of truck drivers. Such precautions can reduce the annual number of large truck accidents that cause catastrophic and fatal injuries.
The Oklahoma City, OK attorneys of Tawwater Law Firm would like to consider rules regarding medical health and truck drivers. This will give you an idea of what checks are in place to protect motorists, and also what responsibilities medial examiners and employers have.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ruled that people who suffer from the four medical conditions should not be eligible to operate large commercial trucks such as tractor-trailers:
Checking for these four medical conditions makes sense at a practical level. Given how important vision and hearing are to the safe operation of a vehicle, it’s important that people driving trucks not suffer from impaired senses. Regarding epilepsy and diabetes/insulin use, the FMCSA is simply acknowledging the hazards of seizures and hypoglycemic episodes if a person is behind the wheel.
Every prospective truck driver must undergo a physical examination performed by a medical examiner listed in the FMCSA’s National Registry. These physical exams will ensure the drivers are relatively fit and in good physical condition to perform any duties associated with the proper operation of their vehicle.
It is possible for truck drivers who have any of the four cited medical conditions to apply for exemptions. The FMCSA will review these exemption requests, looking over medical records, employment history, driving records, and other relevant supporting documentation.
In addition to the potential for exemptions, we should also note that there are new rules in place regarding diabetics and people who use insulin. If a prospective truck driver has their diabetes under control and has a stable insulin regimen, they will not need to apply for a medical exemption. However, the FMCSA will need to review this driver’s supporting documentation and medical records.
In addition to the FMCSA screening truck drivers, trucking companies must also be diligent about their hires. They must review the truck driver’s employment history, medical records, and driving record to ensure that the person is fit to operate a vehicle. Only safe, responsible, and healthy drivers should be considered.
If a truck driver’s health problems cause or contribute to an accident, it is important that negligent parties be held accountable. This includes the driver, the trucking company, and possibly the FMCSA medical examiner who cleared the driver. Our attorneys can help look into your case and hold any negligent parties accountable for their actions.
For more information about your legal options following a collision, be sure to contact our team of truck and auto accident lawyers. The team at the Tawwater Law Firm is here to help. You can reach our office by phone at (405) 607-1400.