The American Trucking Association estimates that there are over 3.5 million truck drivers currently working in the United States. With fewer young people entering the field, the population is gradually aging, and the average age is currently estimated to be close to 60. As these drivers get older, they are at an increased risk of developing a medical condition that could affect their ability to safely operate their rig. If the truck driver’s health contributed to the accident that left you seriously injured, you should have a strong claim for damages.
Dangerous Medical Conditions for Truck Drivers
The Department of Transportation requires truck drivers to have a medical examination by a physician approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration every 24 months, or more often if there is a medical concern. It is up to the doctor to either issue a medical certificate or to deny one based on the driver’s health. If a driver continues to work without a doctor’s approval or develops a dangerous condition between required exams, his health condition could be the cause of a serious accident. Concerning health issues include the following:
If a truck driver suffers from sleep apnea, he is not getting the quality sleep he needs to stay alert and awake while driving.
A concussion or other traumatic brain injury can have lasting effects, such as memory loss, headaches, dizziness, and vision problems that can impair driving. Someone with a seizure disorder should not be driving any kind of vehicle, much less a semi-truck.
High blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol contribute to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. If a truck driver suffers one of these medical emergencies while driving, the impact could be devastating.
Vision or hearing loss
These sensory impairments will seriously affect a trucker’s ability to drive safely. Vision and hearing are tested at each medical exam, but either can deteriorate in the two years between exams, especially in older drivers.
Commercial truck accidents are difficult injury cases to pursue, but an experienced attorney will demand the trucker’s medical records as part of the evidence-gathering process.