Commercial vehicles are the largest vehicles on the road. The only other vehicles coming close are newer recreational vehicles. 18-wheelers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When that amount of weigh is involved in an accident, catastrophic injuries can easily occur to drivers and occupants of smaller passenger vehicles.
In an effort to reduce the number of trucking accidents in Missouri and across the country, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration closely regulates truck drivers. One of their recent efforts is to ensure that those behind the wheel of these big rigs are healthy.
In November, the FMCSA announced new random inspections designed to catch those drivers who have fraudulent medical certificates. As a part of the inspection process, an inspector will call the medical examiner’s office to verify the driver’s name, date of birth and date of medical certificate and any restrictions. Commercial drivers must keep a copy of their medical cards at all time while driving or on duty.
DOT Medical Exam
Drivers with a commercial driver’s license must pass a biannual U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam. To keep or qualify for a license, commercial drivers need to comply with certain baseline measurements. For example, blood pressure cannot be higher than 140/90 or if a driver is diabetic, he or she must show that the disease is under control. Respiratory issues are also of concern if they interfere with sleep.
The reliability of these medical evaluations is a priority of the DOT, because driver health can easily become a safety issue. A driver who suffers from undiagnosed sleep apnea may continue to drive through fatigue and could easily pose a danger on the highway.
Sometimes these health issues may not immediately be apparent as the cause for a truck collision. A review and investigation by an experienced Missouri truck crash attorney may be the only way to uncover that negligence caused the accident.
Consistency in Medical Exams
To ensure quality and consistency in medical exams, the DOT recently announced a new safety rule requiring training, testing and certification for healthcare professionals for complete medical evaluations for interstate truck and bus drivers. In publicizing the new rule, Secretary Ray LaHood stated, “Safety is our top priority and requires cooperation from everyone involved, including our medical examiners.”
The growing awareness of health problems associated with sedentary work, such as driving behind the wheel for ten or more hours a day, is a starting point toward creating solutions that will improve safety for all.
Any motor vehicle accident is disorienting. An accident that involves a semi-truck can land you or a loved one in the hospital for a long time. Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney is one way to learn what caused the accident. If the negligence of another driver was to blame, a lawyer can fight to make sure you receive adequate compensation for medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering.