The Importance of FMCSA Medical Requirements
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations1 require that an individual pass a medical examination prior to receiving or renewing a commercial driver’s license (CDL). These regulations are in an effort to prevent accidents caused by unhealthy drivers. If a driver continues to drive knowing about a serious health issue, the driver should be held liable for the losses of any injured accident victims. The following are some of the situations that the FMCSA regulations are attempting to avoid.
Issues that may lead to adverse medical events
Many different health issues can lead to sudden and serious medical events that can render a person incapable of maintaining control over a vehicle. While a standard driver’s license is not available to individuals with some medical conditions, the FMCSA has a much larger list due to the added danger of a runaway commercial truck compared to a smaller passenger vehicle. Some adverse medical events that the FMCSA regulations are aiming to avoid behind the wheel include the following:
Heart attack – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports2 that an estimated 735,000 individuals in the United States suffer heart attacks on an annual basis. The primary cause of heart attack is coronary artery disease (CAD), as well as other forms of heart disease. Drivers who have untreated heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other serious heart attack risk factors may not be cleared to drive a commercial truck.
- Stroke – A stroke can render a person unable to concentrate or even cause complete loss of consciousness depending on the severity. Individuals who are at risk of stroke are those who have untreated high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or other serious health conditions that may disqualify a commercial truck driver.
- Seizures – Seizures3 can range from minor to severe, with some causes staring spells and loss of memory while others cause loss of consciousness, convulsions, and many more symptoms that would almost certainly result in a driver losing control of a truck. Seizures are most commonly associated with epilepsy but can occur due to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, brain defects, and other conditions.
Conditions that limit control over the truck
In addition to illnesses that may cause adverse medical events, many individuals have medical conditions that cause certain impairments and may hinder driving ability. Large commercial trucks are difficult to control and maneuver as it is and operating a truck can become substantially more difficult if a driver has any of the following:
* Muscle weakness
* Vision impairments
* Hearing impairments
* Other joint disorders
* Soft tissue injuries
Mental health conditions
In addition to physical injuries, commercial drivers may be dangerous if they have certain untreated mental conditions. Many mental illnesses may create irrational thoughts, harmful thoughts, suicidal thoughts, or other serious situations that may cause a driver to crash a truck. Additionally, other disorders that may cause mood swings or anger issues may lead to bouts of dangerous aggressive driving. Finally, persistent substance abuse issues may lead a truck driver to get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. All of these conditions can be exacerbated by the long and often lonely hours spent alone in a truck, so any truck driver with a mental issue should seek medical attention immediately.
Consult with a Clearwater truck accident attorney regarding your case today
Identifying whether a medical issue caused a commercial truck accident can be relatively simple in some cases and challenging in others. Fortunately, an experienced truck accident lawyer from the Dolman Law Group knows how to thoroughly investigate every truck accident case and identify whether a driver or company violated FMCSA medical regulations so that you can receive full and just compensation for your injuries and related losses. We understand how to take on large trucking corporations in personal injury cases and never hesitate to provide the most zealous representation needed so that you can financially recover. If you have sustained injuries in a truck accident, do not hesitate to contact our Clearwater, Florida office at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756