Why do California truck drivers have to get medical exams?

2019-12-05T19:34:10+00:00March 11th, 2016|

Because tractor trailers are such massive vehicles, they can cause serious injuries and property damage if they are involved in an accident. Given the dangers involved in trucking, truck drivers must know exactly what they are doing before they get behind the wheel of a big rig. Accordingly, truck drivers in California, and in all other states, must get special training and licensing before they can legally operate a commercial truck.

In addition to the special licensing, what other safety requirements must California truck drivers satisfy before they can legally operate a truck? One essential requirement is a medical examination. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains a list of licensed medical doctors who can examine truck drivers and certify whether they are physically fit to be on the road. If the doctor finds that a driver is in satisfactory physical condition, the doctor will issue a Medical Examiner’s Certificate to the driver.

The Medical Examiner’s Certificate is only valid for two years. Therefore, at least every two years, the driver will have to get another physical examination from a physician approved by the FMCSA.

The medical examination and certification is important because a truck driver who is not physically fit to drive can pose a grave danger to other people on California’s highways. If a driver disregards this requirement and ends up getting in a truck accident caused by the driver’s medical condition, any injured victims may be able to use the driver’s failure to adhere to the regulations as evidence of the driver’s negligence.

State and federal regulations on truckers and truck companies exist for a reason. While some of the regulations may not be popular in the trucking industry, all are aimed at reducing fatal commercial truck accidents.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “DOT Medical Exam and Commercial Motor Vehicle Certification,” Accessed on March 2, 2016