The federal Department of Transportation (DOT) recognizes that certain medical conditions could impair a truck driver’s ability to safely operate a rig. Because of this, the government requires truck drivers to have a DOT medical exam at least every two years in order to maintain their commercial driver’s license (CDL). If you were involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, your personal injury lawyer should look into the truck driver’s medical exam history for violations of this safety rule.
DOT Medical Exam Requirements
CDL holders must undergo a medical evaluation by an approved examiner at least once every 24 months. A medical examiner can require a driver to have more frequent screenings if a condition that requires monitoring is diagnosed. If the driver passes the exam, they are issued a certificate that will allow them to renew their CDL. While the driver is responsible for maintaining their CDL, trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that all of their drivers are qualified to drive.
Health Conditions That Result in a Loss of a CDL
If a driver is found to have a medical condition that could result in loss of consciousness or cardiac arrest behind the wheel, the examiner should not issue a certificate. These conditions include:
- Certain heart conditions. Angina, coronary insufficiency, thrombosis, and chest pain are disqualifying conditions unless the driver is under treatment and receives clearance from a cardiologist.
- Seizure disorders. Drivers with epilepsy and other seizure disorders that could cause them to lose consciousness while driving cannot get a CDL unless they can prove that their seizures are under control.
- Inner-ear disorders. Meniere’s disease and other problems that cause vertigo or balance issues will disqualify a driver.
- Vision or hearing loss. Substantial loss of vision and hearing will disqualify a driver unless the deficit can be overcome with corrective lenses or hearing aids.
- Medical marijuana use. Drivers who use marijuana in any form, even if it is prescribed by a doctor, will lose their CDL.
Drivers with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and respiratory disease may be issued medical exemptions if they agree to manage their condition and to submit to more frequent medical exams.
What This Means If You Are Injured in a Crash With a Semi-Truck
If you are seriously injured in a crash with a commercial truck, the first thing you should do is talk to an experienced truck accident attorney. At Mahaney & Pappas, our truck accident team will leave no stone unturned in determining if the truck driver was at fault, including looking into their medical records. If the driver should not have been driving for medical reasons, we will find out, and we will also hold their employer accountable for the crash. Fill out our contact form or call our office to schedule a free consultation as soon as possible after a serious commercial truck accident. We will get to work for you!