New federal trucking regulations will, hopefully, decrease the frequency of trucking accidents and increase highway safety. These new regulations will require many commercial-license-holding truckers to obtain their physicals from properly certified physicians. However, these regulations will not go into effect until May, 2014, so the actual impact they may have on the frequency of trucking accidents won’t be determined for a while.
While the Department of Transportation requires truckers who hold commercial licenses to get a physical every two years, trucking regulations previously allowed these exams to be performed by a multitude of providers, from medical doctors to chiropractors. In many instances, a driver that was denied their medical card by a physician because of medical issues could go to other physicians until they found one that would approve them. Many physicians don’t truly understand the Department of Transportation’s medical requirements and would, as a result, approve a driver’s physical even when they didn’t meet the standards. The new regulations will ensure that the only physicians who perform the physical exams are physicians who understand the requirements.
One issue that could cause a driver to be denied their medical card is sleep apnea, a breathing disorder that causes the individual to pause breathing during sleep. Studies have shown that drivers suffering from untreated sleep apnea are much more likely to cause accidents than those who don’t.
Truck driving is a rigorous occupation. Therefore, it is necessary that a proper physical is conducted in order to be certain each driver can handle the physical demands of trucking. Hopefully, these new trucking regulations will increase highway safety by ensuring only physically capable drivers are allowed in the driver’s seat.
If you are the victim of a trucking accident any time before these new regulations go into effect, the truck driver may hold a medical card that was granted despite their unsuitability for passing Department of Transportation medical requirements. If this is the case, you may be eligible to claim financial compensation with the help of a trucking accident attorney.