Commercial Truck Drivers and Ineligible Medical Conditions

By Rocky Walton on February 28, 2019

A rollover large truck accidentThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a number of regulations that help keep the roads as safe as possible and prevent commercial truck accidents. A number of these regulations have to do with the health of the truck driver. Some medical issues may disqualify a truck driver from operating a large truck.

The Arlington, TX truck accident attorneys at The Law Firm of Roger "Rocky" Walton, P.C. would like to consider these medical conditions in more detail. We’ll note why the regulations are in place and how they may play into a legal case.

Medical Conditions That Lead to Ineligibility

To prevent collisions and injuries involving large trucks and commercial vehicles, the FMCSA cited four medical conditions that will disqualify a person from operating a commercial vehicle. They are as follows:

  • Vision loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Epilepsy
  • Insulin Use

Selecting these four conditions makes sense given the dangers they pose. Vision and hearing problems can make a person less responsive to visual and auditory stimuli that could signal a potential hazard on the road. Similarly, the risk of seizures and hypoglycemic episodes could make someone a danger if they operate a vehicle for long hours.

Some Drivers Apply and Are Granted Exemptions

Even if a person suffers from the above medical issues, they can still apply for exemptions so that they can be eligible to operate a commercial vehicle. When applying for an exemption, the prospective driver will need to provide medical records, driver history, employment history, and other relevant documents for review.

New Rules Regarding Insulin Use/Diabetes

New regulations by the FMCSA went into effect last year for truck drivers who need to use insulin. A medical exemption may not be required if the driver can demonstrate that they have controlled their diabetes and have a stable insulin regimen. The driver will still need to provide supporting documents regarding these matters.

Physical Examinations Also Required

In addition to the above medical issues leading to driver ineligibility, the Department of Transportation (DOT) also requires commercial drivers to undergo a physical examination. This exam will ensure that the driver is healthy enough to drive a large truck and to perform any duties associated with its regular use and operation.

The physical exam must be performed by a licensed medical examiner who is listed in the FMCSA’s National Registry.

Trucking Companies Need to Screen Drivers Carefully

Even though medical exams and clearances will be necessary to be approved for a commercial trucking license to operate a large truck, it’s important for trucking companies to screen all employees properly. There could be new medical issues or red flags in driver history that demonstrate a prospective driver is unsafe on the road. In essence, trucking companies should consider themselves a last line of defense when it comes to dangerous drivers behind the wheel of commercial trucks.

Liability When Medical Problems Cause Accidents

Liability in large truck accidents caused by medical issues can vary. Sometimes the driver themselves needs to be held accountable for their actions, particularly if they knew they were unwell or ineligible to operate a vehicle. Trucking companies may also bear some responsibility if they didn’t screen the driver properly.

During your consultation at our law firm, we can discuss the details of your case in greater detail and make sure liable parties are taken to task. We are here to help you.

Speak with Our Truck Accident Attorneys

For more information about your legal rights and options after suffering serious injuries in a truck collision, be sure to contact our team of injury accident attorneys. The Law Firm of Roger "Rocky" Walton, P.C. is here to help. You can reach our legal team by phone at (817) 727-4079.

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