Driver Health Factors into Truck Accidents

driver healthMore than 90,000 people were killed or injured in crashes with large trucks in 2011.  The vast majority of those injuries and deaths – 72 percent – were inflicted on occupants of other vehicles or pedestrians involved in the crash.  Although accidents can result from a combination of unfortunate factors, federal authorities have identified poor health of commercial drivers as a significant factor in highway accidents.

As anyone who has ever taken a road trip knows, driving long hours can be physically strenuous.  Overall health and fitness is very important to safe driving.  That’s why the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) requires physical exams for commercial drivers every two years.

But there are problems with the medical certification process.  “The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found evidence that improper medical certification of commercial vehicle drivers with serious disqualifying medical conditions has directly contributed to significant fatal and injury crashes,” says Anne Ferro, Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

High blood pressure is the most common condition that affects medical certification.  In the last four years, consistently 10 percent of drivers have had their certification limited to one year due to high blood pressure.  Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure can lead to heart problems and increased risk for strokes.

Blood pressure is easily measured and a clear standard is set for medical certification.  But other conditions that can affect driver fitness, such as other cardiac concerns, non-insulin diabetes and Obstructive Sleep Apnea, are harder to screen for – and may be more deadly on the road.

Even if a driver has passed the medical certification process, they may not be healthy enough for the road.  If you have been involved in a truck accident and suspect the driver was not physically fit for the job, you need expert legal representation with in-depth knowledge of the trucking industry.  Put the expertise of the Meehan Law Firm to work for you today.

Learn more at


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Lexis Nexis 2012 Commercial Driver Safety Report

National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration

National Transportation Safety Board