Drivers of commercial vehicles – including over-the-road trucks and buses – must obtain special commercial driver’s licenses. In an effort to reduce the dangers of large trucks and buses, next year many of them will also be required to get medical examinations by specially trained and certified professionals.
By law, commercial truck and bus drivers must undergo medical check-ups at least every two years. Such examinations currently can be performed by any licensed “medical examiner,” a term which includes physicians, physician assistants, and advanced practice nurses. Drivers who pass the exam receive a medical card that allows them to operate their large vehicles.
Given the physical demands of their work, the size of their vehicles, and the potential deadly consequences of a commercial vehicle crash, the health of truck and bus drivers should be under tighter scrutiny than the health of private motorists. Big-rig drivers who suffer a medicalemergency while behind the wheel pose grave danger to not only themselves but to those with whom they share the road.
New Medical Exam Rules to Help Prevent Unfit Truck Drivers From Getting Behind the Wheel
So the Department of Transportation (DOT) has taken a new step in monitoring the health of the nation’s commercial vehicle operators. Beginning in May of next year, only those medical examiners who undergo special training and certification by the DOT will be allowed to administer physical exams to truck and bus drivers and present those who pass with their requisite medical cards.
The tougher training and certification process will be designed to ensure that commercial drivers undergo a more thorough and regimented medical exam that is consistent across the country. Hopefully this new rule will also help stop unscrupulous trucking companies from employing unfit drivers and unscrupulous truck drivers – who fail a check-up only to “shop” other medical examiners until they find one who will provide the medical card – from hitting the road.