The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that large trucks traveled 288 million miles in 2016. These tractor-trailers are essential for goods and supplies to be delivered across the country. With so many miles covered, it’s important that all truck drivers be healthy enough to perform the job, which involves long hours behind the wheel. That’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ruled that certain medical conditions will prevent people from operating a commercial truck.
Experienced Walnut Creek, CA attorneys Richard T. Bowles and Michael P. Verna would like to consider how certain medical conditions can lead to large commercial truck accidents. We can go over your legal rights in a collision case in more detail during a consultation at Bowles & Verna LLP.
Medical Conditions That Disqualify Potential Truck Drivers
The following four medical conditions will disqualify a person from driving a commercial truck:
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Diabetes/Insulin Use
Citing these medical conditions makes sense. Problems with vision and hearing mean a driver will need extra concentration behind the wheel in order to operate their vehicle safely. Similarly, issues with diabetes and epilepsy mean risks of hypoglycemic episodes and seizures, which can result in the loss of vehicle control.
Potential for Medical Exemptions
Even if a driver suffers from one of the above medical conditions, they can apply for an exemption in order to operate a commercial vehicle. The FMCSA will need to review medical records, driving records, and other documents in order to grant this exemption.
New Regulations for Insulin Users/Diabetics
New rules took effect last year regarding diabetics and anyone who uses insulin. Medical exemptions are not required for these drivers if they can demonstrate that their diabetes is under control and that they have a proper insulin regimen in place. Again, this is subject to FMCSA review.
Mandatory Physical Examination
In addition to the disqualifying medical conditions above, prospective truck drivers must pass a mandatory physical. This will demonstrate that the driver is in good enough health to operate their vehicle and perform any duties that are associated with the normal operation of the large truck.
This physical examination must be performed by a licensed medical examiner who is listed in the FMCSA’s National Registry.
Driver Screenings by Trucking Companies
Even if a truck driver passes a physical and is granted medical exemptions, it is up to trucking companies to screen these drivers for safety and suitability. Changes in medical health, a poor driver safety record, or a spotty employment history could all b red flags about the safety of a truck driver.
Who Is Liable When Medical Problems Cause Accidents?
If a truck driver’s medical issues cause or contribute to an auto accident, legal liability can vary. In some cases, it’s the truck driver or the trucking company that’s to blame. In other cases, the medical examiner who cleared a driver could be considered responsible because they were not thorough.
Since liability can vary, it’s important to discuss these matters with our team of lawyers. We can discuss the nature of your accident and go over evidence to build a strong case. This will help you receive damages to cover medical bills and other losses associated with the collision.
Speak with Our Truck Accident Attorneys
If you would like more information about your legal options after a catastrophic accident with a commercial tractor-trailer, speak with our team of truck accident lawyers. The law firm of Bowles & Verna LLP is here for you in your time of legal need. You can reach our law office by phone at (925) 935-3300.