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New DOT regs strengthen medical exam rules for truckers

We recently discussed the link between trucker health and safety and it looks like federal regulators have taken notice as well. New federal Department of Transportation regulations, which go into effect in May of 2014, will require many commercial drivers, including bus and commercial truck drivers, to get their biennial physical exam from a certified medical provider.

Commercial drivers are already required to undergo regular physical exams. However, until these new regulations go into effect there are no standards for medical providers who conduct them; truckers may see any doctor or chiropractor they wish.

Problems arise when one provider gets a reputation for waving CDL holders through the exam without conducting due diligence and making sure that it's really safe for them to be on the road. Some trucking companies have addressed this issue individually, barring physicals by certain doctors who are known for providing lesser-quality exams.

The new guidelines hope to remedy this problem across the entire industry by creating a standardized system for physicals. Providers will need to be certified by attending a day-long training course and taking a written test. The course will highlight medical issues that are commonly found in truck drivers, including eye strain, sleep apnea, chronic stress and high blood pressure.

In addition, medical providers will be assigned a number that allows tracking of all the medical cards they have approved for drivers. This will allow better oversight if one doctor shows a pattern of missing potentially dangerous conditions or approving too many licenses.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a negligent or unsafe commercial driver, consider speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney who may be able to help you pursue any appropriate claims.

Source: The Red Wing Republic Eagle, "New regulations will require bus, truck drivers to get certified exams," Sarah Gorvin, Nov. 16, 2012

To learn about commercial trucking safety in Ohio, please visit our website.

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