Federal officials cut down flaws of bus, truck driver physicals

November 30th, 2012 - by DKRPA

Bus and truck drivers will face increased regulations to obtain the right to operate their respective vehicles starting in 2014.

In May of that year, a new federal law will take effect mandating that a prospective driver see a certified medical professional to get their required physical exam. This may seem like a straightforward and obvious rule — but the current system for bus drivers and truckers is deeply flawed.

The issues at play are born from both sides — the drivers and the doctors. First, let’s talk about the drivers. Many bus and truck drivers can suffer from a rash of medical conditions due to their job. Long hours on the road strain their eyes, their muscles and ultimately their entire body. Sleep apnea is prevalent in the community, and high blood pressure is also common.

So these physical exams are meant to test the overall health of the driver, ensuring that they can withstand the wear and tear of a trucking job. These physicals must be passed to obtain a commercial driver’s license. However, the current system allows a prospective driver to take the test as many times as he or she wants. They could fail the physical, and then just go to another doctor and take it again. Eventually, they can pass; and an unhealthy driver is allowed on to the road.

You may ask “how is this possible?” That’s where the fault of the medical professionals comes in. Many of them are unaware of the rules and regulations that cover truckers and bus drivers; thus, many doctors and physicians do not have the knowledge necessary to administer a physical that accurately tests the driver. They simply pass them because they don’t know better.

These flaws, though, will be no more in May 2014. Medical professionals will have to attend classes so that they know the rules and are properly equipped to give the physical exam, and the drivers will have to see these certified (and monitored) doctors to obtain their licenses.

Source: Republican Eagle, “New regulations will require bus, truck drivers to get certified exams,” Sarah Gorvin, Nov. 16, 2012

After a truck accident, it is important for the victims of the wreck to thoroughly investigate the driver and his or her company to make sure all the necessary training and safety regulations were obeyed. Any deviation from federal trucking laws constitutes negligence, and can make the parties liable for the crash.