Driver Health Plays a Role in Truck Accidents and Injuries
Driving a truck for a living is a demanding occupation. In addition to the hours spent away from your family members, drivers work long shifts, face the physical demands of loading and unloading cargo, and must successfully navigate big rigs weighing up to 80,000 pounds through a variety of different road, traffic, and weather conditions. Along with the truck driver’s individual skill and experience level, maintaining their overall health plays a role in helping to prevent truck accidents and injuries. Unfortunately, while federal safety standards do require regular physicals and clearances from medical providers, this does not always prevent a driver who is not up to the task from getting behind the wheel.
Health Impacts On Truck Driving Ability
As outlined in the Florida Commercial Driver’s’ Handbook, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) has rigorous requirements which must be met before a commercial driver’s license may be issued. These are meant to protect the driver as well as the general public. By requiring all drivers to meet certain safety standards, the agency hopes to reduce the number of truck accidents and injuries which occur each year.
Among these is medical documentation, which includes an examiner’s certificate disclosing medical conditions which could be an issue. Truck drivers end up sacrificing healthy habits, such as eating regular, healthy meals and getting enough sleep, in order to meet the requirements of their jobs. Combined with the following medical conditions, this could spell big dangers for them and others on the roads:
- Diseases such as heart disease, epilepsy, and other conditions that could result in sudden health events if not managed properly;
- Physical and mental health conditions, such as depression or high blood pressure, which require medication that could impact driving abilities;
- Vision difficulties which may prevent a driver from traveling at night or in times of poor visibility;
- Sleep disorders, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, which could make a driver more likely to be fatigued when behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, there are not standard precautions when it comes to monitoring trucker health and the potential impact it has on driving ability. Medical certification often depends on the types of materials being hauled and whether the driver is traveling intrastate or across state lines.
Those transporting certain types of materials and goods on an interstate or cross country basis are required to meet state medical standards as well as those set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Through the Department of Transportation, exams are required every 24 months, with more frequent oversight for certain conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Contact Us Today for Help
Truck accidents cause serious and potentially life threatening injuries, for which the truck driver and the trucking company may be held responsible. If you have been involved in this type of accident, reach out and contact Gregg Wexler at the Wexler Law Firm, P.A. to request a consultation with our West Palm Beach truck accident attorney today.