I have several clients that were severely injured tractor trailer crashes. I find it disturbing that on more than one occasion, I have learned that the negligent truck driver shouldn’t have been on the road in the first place. Just like regular motorists, tractor trailer drivers can have medical conditions that make it unsafe for them to drive a regular car, let alone a heavy, large semi-truck. While trucking company/employers are required to have their drivers examined to confirm that they are fit for driving, I have personally become aware of instances where the truck drivers have serious medical conditions and are on medications with severe effects – yet the medical examiners cleared them to drive.

I am pleased to learn that this may be changing. The U.S. Transportation Secretary announced a new safety regulation in an attempt to reduce the number of tractor trailer cases in our country. All medical professionals conducting the examinations for interstate truck and bus drivers will now be required to adhere to standards set forth in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).

Medical examiners who perform the physicals are required to:

  • be specifically trained, tested, certified by the National Registry;
  • register with the National Registry;
  • complete periodic training every five years;
  • recertify by passing the exam every 10 years;
  • be familiar with physical and mental qualifications relating to safety;
  • know what treatments the driver is or may be receiving and how those treatments may affect their abilities to drive safely; and
  • retain copies of the detailed examination reports.

In order to meet the above requiremets, the examiners will be asked to observe the driver himself/herself, gather medical information about various health conditions such as cardiac and respiratory health, muscular functions, vision and hearing. Currently, semi truck drivers must pass this certification test every 2 years. Now truck drivers must carry this new medical certificate as proof that they passed the physical exam and are medically cleared.

Lindsay Rakers is an avid safety advocate. She is an injury attorney representing those involved in accidents in Decatur, Illinois; Bloomington, Illinois; Springfield, Illinois: Charleston, Illinois; Mattoon, Illinois;Belleville, Illinois, Edwardsville, Illinois, O’Fallon, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; Jefferson County, Missouri.

*This was originally posted on The Legal Examiner, May 26, 2012


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