Is that trucker due for a medical certification exam?

By |2020-09-01T13:40:13+00:00March 8th, 2018|

Truck accidents happen for a variety of reasons, such as fatigue and distraction. In an attempt to keep truckers driving safely, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforces regulations that help to prevent accidents due to these and other issues. For instance, truck drivers may only drive a certain number of hours before resting and may not use their cellphones while driving.

Another thing that the FMCSA does is certify that truck drivers pass a minimal physical exam to ensure that they remain healthy enough to drive. If a driver fails to meet the minimum standards, he or she is not supposed to drive professionally. However, a person’s health can change significantly between exams. A driver’s health may not have been optimal at the time of your crash.

What does the FMCSA look for?

When a driver undergoes a medical certification exam, the FMCSA looks at the following:

  • A driver’s hearing must be good enough to hear things, such as honking horns or other safety-related noises.
  • A driver undergoes testing and questioning to determine whether any breathing problems exist, such as sleep apnea, asthma or emphysema.
  • Obviously, a driver needs to be able to see in order to drive. Doctors check peripheral vision, clear sight and even color vision.
  • Blood pressure is also checked. High blood pressure increases the chances for kidney failure, stroke or heart attack.
  • A cardiovascular issue while driving could cause a crash, so a doctor conducts an exam and takes a medical and family history.
  • A physical evaluation checks for musculoskeletal issues to be sure that a driver can perform physical duties and drive.
  • A neurological exam ensures that your movement, balance, reflexes and coordination are good. In addition, the examiner asks questions regarding any head injuries or seizures that could affect the ability to drive.
  • A psychological exam determines whether he or she suffers from any disorders that could affect the ability to make good judgment calls and react to emergencies.
  • A doctor also questions the driver about any substance abuse problems or other medications that could affect the ability to drive.
  • A driver with diabetes could be a danger to him or herself and others if it is left uncontrolled and untreated.

If a driver fails to pass a section of the exam, doctors may order additional testing. If the driver follows a satisfactory treatment plan, he or she may obtain clearance to drive. As mentioned before, even if a driver receives clearance during one medical certification, it does not mean that a medical condition couldn’t develop between exams. This could make a driver a danger on the California’s roads.

How does this help in your accident?

If it turns out that the driver who caused your accident developed a medical condition between exams and failed to report it, this may help establish negligence in your crash if the medical condition contributed to the accident. This and other data could provide you with the evidence you need to pursue compensation for your injuries.

The only way to know for sure is to investigate. Conducting an investigation and obtaining the appropriate evidence could be problematic. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through the process alone.


About the Author:

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Doug Easton has practiced law since 1971. After 20 years of practicing with various large litigation firms, he founded the Law Offices of W. Douglas Easton in 1991 as a solo practitioner. In the years that followed, Doug’s sons Brian and Matt joined him in the practice and helped build the firm into a powerful force to help right the wrongs done to their clients. Much of their success over the years has stemmed from the dynamic created by the familial nature of the firm and how harmoniously they all work together, each of their individual strengths complementing and fortifying the group as a whole. Accordingly, the firm changed its name to Easton & Easton, LLP in 2014 to better reflect the true dynamic of the firm and Doug now serves as Managing Partner of Easton & Easton. In 2015, Doug was selected as a Top 100 Litigation Lawyer in California by The American Society of Legal Advocates. In addition, Doug is listed in Strathmore’s Who’s Who, and in 2008 was named its “Professional of the Year” in Medical Malpractice.
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