FMCSA Requires More Frequent Doctor Visits For Some Truck Drivers

mo-truck-accident-lawyersFrequent health checkups are vital for truck drivers.

When you think about safe driving you may think of practices like checking your rear view mirror, coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, yielding the right of way, and making sure the kids are all buckled in. But you probably do not think about safe driving as beginning in the doctor’s office at your annual checkup. For many truck drivers, for whom the stakes are much higher because they operate such enormous vehicles, this is the case.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is requiring that truck drivers with certain medical conditions get checked by a doctor on a more frequent basis. This ruling, which stipulates that drivers who have commercial Class A licenses, will need to begin receiving regular medical examinations at intervals of every two years. Commercial drivers who already have certain medical conditions, or who demonstrate risk factors indicating potentially larger issues like high blood pressure or sleep apnea, will require additional treatment. These new rules will take effect in 2014.

Driver medical exams will need to be conducted by an FMCSA medical provider. The FMCSA has a list of physicians or medical examiners who are qualified to conduct these exams. The results will be entered into an electronic database, which will be easily accessed if the driver becomes involved in a truck accident.

These new requirements are precipitated by the reality that certain conditions are greatly exacerbated by a sedentary lifestyle. Truck drivers spend most of their time sitting in their vehicle, getting very little exercise or movement in any given day, unless they are able to spend enough time outside of the vehicle. This means that conditions like high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes can be made significantly worse.

In addition to the sedentary nature of their jobs and lack of opportunity for exercise, commercial truck drivers also have less opportunities for healthy eating. Truck drivers are more likely to stop for fast food or truck stop food, which can be very unhealthy.

Truck drivers also will sometimes work very long hours, or have an irregular sleep schedule. All of these factors can make truck drivers more likely to be involved in a crash. Conditions that can develop out of living a sedentary lifestyle are also conditions that can cause fatigue, heart problems, or other health issues that can lead to causing a traffic accident.

Drivers must be healthy and alert in order to safely operate such large vehicles for such extended periods of time. This is why the FMCSA is concerned, not only with safety records and log books, but also with the actual health and well being of each driver who is licensed to operate these enormous semi trucks, which transport thousands of pounds of goods. Even minor mistakes can lead to major accidents.

Hopefully this new ruling will help keep truck drivers healthier and safer, and by extension, keep all other drivers who share the road with semi vehicles much safer as well.

St. Louis Truck Accident Lawyer

If you have or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact a St. Louis truck accident attorney. Trucking companies have the responsibility of making sure that drivers maintain healthy schedules that will not leave them overly fatigued. If a negligent driver causes a crash, your attorney can help to establish liability so that you can get the compensation you need for injuries and for other accident related damages.

To speak with an experienced St. Louis truck accident lawyer contact the Zevan and Davidson Law Firm.  Our team of legal experts will fight to get you and your family the compensation you are entitled to.

To schedule a free consultation call (314) 588-7200.


photo credit: David Guo’s Master

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