Do medical conditions affect commercial driver’s licenses?

Every driver has to prove that they are physically capable of operating a motor vehicle. For example, to get your driver’s license, you will have to take an eye exam and disclose any physical conditions that may prohibit you from operating a car safely.

There are also similar medical requirements in place for commercial vehicle drivers, though they are more extensive. If a trucker fails to meet medical requirements or falsifies details about his or her medical background and causes an accident as a result, victims should understand that they may have grounds to file a legal claim for compensation.

Certain conditions or behaviors can make a trucker medically unfit to operate a commercial vehicle. These conditions can include vision or hearing loss, epilepsy or other seizure-causing illnesses, use of habit-forming drugs, narcolepsy, diabetes and high blood pressure. Though there are ways to seek exemptions for these and other conditions, generally speaking they can make a person medically unqualified to operate a commercial truck.

In order to assess a driver’s medical eligibility, an exam must be conducted by a medical examiner who has been certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The exams are typically only valid for up to two years, after which another exam may be conducted.

Because of how complicated and physically demanding it can be to operate an 80,000-pound truck, it is crucial for drivers to be in adequate health to be a commercial driver. If a trucker falsifies health information or fails to secure the required examination, he or she can be unfit to operate a vehicle safely. Sadly, this can lead to a serious accident which results in catastrophic injuries to the trucker and other motorists.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, it can be crucial to discuss the event with an attorney. If there is reason to believe the trucker or trucking company was negligent in allowing a truck to be driven by an unfit driver, victims may be eligible to receive compensation.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Driver Medical Fitness for Duty,” accessed on Sept. 23, 2015