Commercial Truck Drivers and Disqualifying Medical Conditions
Tractor-trailer collisions can result in catastrophic injuries and fatalities. It’s estimated that auto accidents involving buses and large trucks caused 4,564 fatalities in 2016. The White Plains, NY attorneys of Worby Vecchio Edelman, LLP can hold negligent truck drivers as well as irresponsible trucking companies accountable when their actions contribute to a collision.
There are numerous regulations in place to help prevent large truck accidents. Some of these rules prevent people from driving commercial vehicles if they suffer from certain illnesses or medical problems. Let’s look at these disqualifying medical conditions and how they can play a role in a crash.
A List of the Disqualifying Medical Conditions
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has determined that the following medical conditions should disqualify drivers from operating tractor-trailers and large commercial trucks:
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Insulin use
In these four medical issues, a driver's ability to operate a vehicle safely is impaired in some way. In addition to diminished ability to see and hear, the disqualifying medical conditions also take into account the risk of seizures and the potential for severe hypoglycemic episodes.
Can Truck Drivers Apply for Medical Exemptions?
Yes. The FMCSA allows truck drivers who suffer from the above conditions to apply for exemptions to potentially operate a commercial vehicle. These applications for exemption will require medical records, driving records, and employment history. The chances of being granted an exemption vary on a case-to-case basis.
New Rules Regarding Insulin Use
Based on rules that went into effect last year, truck drivers who can demonstrate that they have a stable and insulin routine and have their diabetes under control no longer need to apply for an exemption. That said, medical records and other documentation will be necessary to prove that this is the case.
Physical Examinations by the Department of Transportation
All commercial drivers are required by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to undergo a physical examination. This exam will help ensure that the driver is in good enough health to operate a large vehicle, and that they are physically fit enough to perform any duties associated with the operation of said vehicle.
These mandatory physical exams have to be performed by a licensed and approved medical examiner who is listed in the FMCSA’s National Registry.
Improper Employer Screening of Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are required to provide accurate information and records to prove their health and receive a commercial driving license. However, employers of these driver’s must be diligent as well. Trucking companies should verify that their drivers are physically well, and that they do not suffer from any condition or conditions that would prevent them from performing their job safely. Putting an unqualified driver behind the wheel of a large truck is a recipe for disaster.
Liability in Truck Accidents Caused by Medical Problems
If a truck driver’s medical problems contributed to an auto accident, it’s crucial to note the nature of the crash and the medical problem. The driver and their employer could both be liable if the medical issue was covered up or ignored.
By working with our skilled truck accident attorneys, we can check all evidence available and explore company records to determine who was liable. We can then hold the negligent party or parties accountable for endangering countless motorists.
Speak with Our Team of Auto Collision Lawyers
To learn more about your legal rights following a tractor-trailer crash, be sure to contact our team of truck accident lawyers. The attorneys of Worby Vecchio Edelman, LLP are here to help you. You can reach our office by phone at (914) 686-3700.