Reed & Terry, L.L.P.

Truck Accidents and Ineligible Medical Conditions

By Jackson Reed on May 02, 2019

A truck driver behind the wheelLarge trucks are crucial for shipping and interstate commerce. It’s hard to think what we’d do without them. Yet even if these vehicles are essential, we have to acknowledge the seriousness of tractor-trailer crashes and large truck accidents. Collisions with large vehicles can lead to catastrophic and fatal injuries, even at low speeds.

Sugar Land and Katy, TX attorneys Jackson Reed and Travis B. Terry are here to help collision victims and their loved ones. The legal team at Reed & Terry LLP would like to consider the role of certain medical conditions in causing large truck accidents. Certain health issues prevent many people from becoming truck drivers, and with good reason.

Why Certain Medical Conditions Disqualify Truck Drivers

Driving a tractor-trailer or large truck is more demanding than some people may realize. There are long hours spent behind the wheel, and drivers must be in good enough shape to perform various duties associated with proper vehicle operation and maintenance.

Because of this, having certain medical issues will disqualify a person from driving such a vehicle. It is a common sense safety measure that is put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The Disqualifying Medical Conditions

The FMCSA rules that the following medical conditions render a person ineligible to operate a large truck:

  • Vision loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes

Since sight and hearing are important for the proper operation of a vehicle, it makes sense to single out these issues. Similarly, the danger of seizures or hypoglycemic episodes when someone is behind the wheel highlights the need to disqualify people who who do not have their diabetes under control or suffer from epilepsy.

Medical Screenings for Truck Drivers

The FMCSA requires all people applying for commercial truck driving jobs to undergo a mandatory physical examination. This will ensure that they are physically fit enough to operate a vehicle. The physical exams must be performed by licensed examiners listed in the FMCSA registry.

Medical Exemptions and New Rules

It is possible for truck drivers to apply for a medical exemption even if one of the above conditions is present. This is subject to review of the truck driver’s employment history, current health and wellness, and driving history.

Additionally, new rules went into effect in 2018 with regard to diabetes. If a person has a stable insulin routine and has their diabetes under control, they will not need to apply for a medical exemption. Again, this is subject to review by the FMCSA.

Accidents Can Still Happen Despite Medical Screenings

Even if a truck driver has been properly screened for medical issues and cleared to operate large trucks, accidents can still occur that are the result of the driver’s health issues. This is important to consider, particularly among drivers who have been granted medical exemptions.

Trucking Companies Must Be Diligent

Trucking companies can serve as a last line of screening to ensure only safe, healthy, qualified truck drivers are on the road. Upon reviewing driving records and medical records, trucking companies can refuse to hire drivers who may pose a risk.

Who Is Liable in a Medical Condition-related Crash?

When a medical condition causes a truck accident, it’s important to note the nature of the collision. In some cases, the driver themselves may be solely at fault. Other times, liability may rest with their trucking company or even the medical examiners at the FMCSA.

Victims of large truck accidents and their loved ones can come to our law firm for the help they need. We will go over the evidence and help you hold the negligent party accountable for the harm they caused.

Speak with Our Injury Accident Lawyers

For more information about your legal rights and options following a large truck accident, be sure to contact our auto accident and catastrophic injury attorneys. You can reach our Sugar Land office by phone at (281) 201-0988.

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