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Is the FMCSA Allowing Dangerous Truck Drivers on the Roads?

large semi-truckAt the Atlanta office of Boling Rice LLC, our truck accident attorneys work to hold negligent truck drivers and companies liable for any accidents and injuries they cause. If you have suffered injury in a truck accident, please contact our office for assistance today by calling (770) 744-0890 to schedule a free consultation.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA [1]) enacts and enforces numerous regulations that commercial truck drivers and companies must follow. These regulations are meant to keep other motorists safe and cover matters from rest and sleep breaks to random drug testing to truck inspections. One important FMCSA regulation requires truck drivers to pass a medical examination before they can receive or renew a commercial driver’s license. This requirement is intended to make sure that all drivers are physically capable of controlling a truck and to prevent adverse health events such as heart attacks or seizures from occurring on the road.

New FMCSA Health Exemptions

In recent years, disability advocates have stood up to the FMCSA on behalf of individuals who have been disqualified from commercial driving due to certain medical conditions. Advocacy groups have stated that individuals with certain conditions have the ability to adapt their driving skills in order to safely operate motor vehicles as evidenced by their clean driving records. The claim was that prohibiting capable drivers due to a disability is unnecessary discrimination.

As a result, the FMCSA recently announced [2] certain health exemptions for test subjects, including the following:

  • 17 drivers who are partially or totally hearing impaired

  • 6 drivers who have had past seizures, are taking anti-seizure medication, but have not suffered a seizure episode in over five years

  • 35 drivers who have visual impairments, including complete blindness in one eye, cataracts, corneal or retinal scarring, retinal detachment, macular degeneration, or one prosthetic eye

Though the FMCSA asserts these particular individuals will be able to safely operate large commercial trucks, several trucking safety groups have voiced concerns that allowing them to drive commercially puts other motorists at an additional and unnecessary risk. Whether these drivers will cause accidents is yet to be seen and any injured motorists should contact an attorney for help as soon as possible.




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