Among the many different reasons why truck accidents occur, the health of the driver is often overlooked. It is demanding to drive a commercial truck; lawyers who handle truck accident identify this as a reason that drivers of 18-wheelers often do not stay very healthy. Big rig drivers must pay attention to their own health to prevent avoidable accidents.

CDL Licensing and Driver Health Requirements

Commercial truck drivers must pass certain health qualifications to obtain and keep a commercial driver’s license (CDL); the intent is to ensure drivers are healthy enough for the rigors of the job. They are required to obtain and maintain a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (ME Certificate),1 which documents health details about a driver’s medical condition. Truck accident attorneys warn that failure to update an ME Certificate every three years can result in CDL revocation.

Health Problems and Commercial Driving

Attorneys who help clients injured as a result of truck wrecks advise that several health problems associated with the nature of truck driving can be prevented by long haul commercial drivers. Some of the health problems prevalent among commercial truck drivers are obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and other associated conditions. According to statistics from 20007, commercial truck drivers have the second highest worker death rate, accounting for one out of every four fatal work injuries in that year.2

Truck accident attorneys say crash analysis and other safety data finds that obese and diabetic drivers also have a 20 percent higher incidence of hypertension and other related disorders, such as vision and hearing issues.2 The rate of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other medical conditions is also exponentially higher among CDL drivers than the general public, which is a cause for concern among federal safety organizations and occupational health groups. In simplest terms, the failure of CDL drivers to remain healthy gives them an increased risk to have a trucking accident.

Staying Healthy While Behind the Wheel

It is the opinion of the lawyers who handle truck accident claims that commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers must keep themselves healthy. CMV drivers are already predisposed to certain types of medical conditions that are caused or exacerbated by obesity, including hypertension and diabetes. Although it is not easy for these drivers to maintain healthy lifestyles when their workday is spent behind the wheel, it is essential for the safety of everyone on our country’s roads and highways.

Good eating plans, regular health care and doctor visits, and exercise is essential to maintain a healthy weight. These actions can avert many diseases and medical conditions that can make a driver unhealthy. Commercial truck drivers can claim a number of exemptions to help maintain their ME Certificate; however, truck drivers can still lose their CDL if they are unable to meet required health standards.

Both truck accident attorneys and industry experts agree that CMV drivers must understand that taking care of their health must be done to help prevent truck accidents. It is critical for commercial truck drivers to eat well and get enough exercise even while on the road. Truck accident attorneys agree that failure to do this can cause medical conditions that lead to truck accidents. CMV drivers should speak with their doctors about how to maintain their health while driving or contact FMCSA about driver health information to help in that effort!

Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
(281) 223-1666

1 – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Aministration: Medical Regulations
2 – FCMSA, 2010 Update: Diabetes and Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Safety, May 2011

Related Articles:

Airbag Safety – What Do You Really Know?
Motorcycle Riders Need These Safety Tips!
Big Rig Safety – The Top Safety Issues They Face!
Drowsy Truck Drivers – And The Accidents That Happen!
Child Safety Seats – Latch It Right!