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New DOT Medical Guidelines Issued for Truck Drivers

November 11, 2010

DOT Medical Guidelines

When should truckers be able to get back on the road?

The US Department of Transportation’s Medical Review Board has issued new DOT medical guidelines for commercial truck drivers who are returning to work after suffering a stroke.  Truck driver health is a major safety concern for California truck accident attorneys. The new DOT medical guidelines are related to the risks of a truck accident caused by a driver who is still not medically fit to be behind the wheel.

The Medical Review Board consists of a panel that was appointed by the Department Of Transportation.  The Board is recommending the commercial truck and bus drivers who suffer a stroke should be required to wait a minimum of one year before driving again.  Further, these truck drivers must undergo and pass a driving test as well as other health assessment tests before they are able to drive again.  According to the Department of Transportation, it would be extremely risky to put people back behind the wheel of a truck soon after they have had a stroke, and see how well they drive.  That kind of situation greatly increases crashes, and it would be irresponsible to simply allow truck drivers back to operating a commercial motor vehicle very soon after suffering a stroke.

Commercial and private drivers have different regulations for driving after a stroke.  While motorists come under state regulations, commercial truck drivers are governed by federal regulations.  The current guidelines which were laid out in 1988, recommend that drivers refrain from operating a commercial vehicle for a period of at least one year, and then return back to work only after they finish and pass a series of psychological tests.

According to the Medical Review Board panelists, while neuropsychological tests and simulations are helpful in predicting whether a driver is fit and able to operate a vehicle, it is still preferable to give the driver an actual driving test in real-world conditions.   For instance, many truck drivers might be able to pass a simulated driving test, but would not be able to deal with the stresses and pressures of operating a commercial motor vehicle under pressure soon after an illness.

The issue of commercial truck driver health greatly impacts trucking safety in the country.  Earlier this month, California truck accident lawyers had expressed serious concern about the ease with which commercial truck drivers can attain fake medical certification that they can then use to continue operating a commercial motor vehicle.  The laws that govern trucker medical certifications continue to be riddled with loopholes that allow a driver to simply download a template of the certificate from the federal website, and forge doctor signatures.  There is no system in place to check if a particular doctor has certified a commercial truck driver as being safe and fit medically fit to operate a vehicle.  These reports have meant hundreds of truck accidents involving truck drivers who suffered emergency medical conditions behind the wheel.

The Reeves Law Group is not representing any party in the matters discussed in this posting.

Posted by Robert Reeves at 5:33 pm - no comments
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