Commercial Truck Accidents and Disqualifying Medical Conditions

By Mark T. Flickinger, JD on January 17, 2019

A commercial truck driver behind the wheelIf a driver suffers from a medical condition the could affect their ability to drive safely, they should be disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle. It’s a common sense safety measure to avoid catastrophic auto collisions and large truck accidents that’s been put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA requires drivers to be able to operate vehicles safely, secure and check loads being carried, and conduct pre-trip and post-trip safety inspections.

The Provo, UT auto accidents lawyers of Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton would like to consider the medical conditions that disqualify people from driving a commercial truck. Even though there is a shortage in licenses commercial truck drivers in the United States, companies must be diligent in hiring medically certified and qualified individuals.

A List of Disqualifying Medical Conditions

The FMCSA lists the following as medical conditions that disqualify drivers from operating commercial trucks:

  • Vision loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Epilepsy
  • Insulin Use

Each of these conditions in some way impairs a driver’s ability to drive safely. You will notice that the above list covers the risk of seizures, severe hypoglycemic episodes, as well as problems with necessary senses for driving.

Applying for Exemptions

Truck drivers who suffer from the above medical conditions can apply for exemptions from the FMCSA. Accompanying documentation such as medical records, driver history, and employment records will often be submitted when applying for an exception.

Based on new rules by the FMCSA that went into effect last year, truck drivers who have stable insulin regimens and have properly controlled diabetes will no longer need to apply for an exemption, though they will need to provide proof that their condition is under control.

Department of Transportation Physical Examination

In addition to the above medical conditions, the Department of Transportation (DOT) also requires commercial drivers to undergo a physical examination. This helps ensure that the driver is well enough to operate a vehicle and perform the duties associated with their job.

These physical exams must be performed by a licensed medical examiner listed in the FMCSA’s National Registry.

Failure to Properly Screen Truck Drivers

While it is incumbent on truck drivers to meet the physical requirements and undergo medical screenings as needed, their employers must also be diligent when screening for employees. When trucking companies fail to check their driver’s medial records, these companies could be putting an unqualified person behind the wheel of their tractor trailer.

Who Is Liable When Medical Problems Cause a Truck Accident?

In cases when medical conditions contribute to an accident occurring, liability will depend on the circumstances of the crash. Truck drivers who failed to receive certification or provided false information about their suitability for the job may be liable for the crash, and the trucking company who employed the driver could be liable for their failure to properly vet their employee.

An attorney can help you and your loved ones in these matters, making sure the liable party is held accountable for the harm they caused.

Contact Our Team of Auto Accident Lawyers

For more information about your legal rights and options following a truck collision, be sure to contact an experienced injury accident attorney. The team at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton is here to help. You can reach our Provo office by calling (801) 753-1616, our Orem office at (801) 669-8835, our our Saratoga Springs office at (801) 341-8424, and West Jordan office at (801) 509-7102.

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