McArthur Law Firm
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Medical exams are a must for commercial drivers

Commercial motor vehicle drivers need to be in good health. If they have a medical emergency behind the wheel, then there is a chance that they could hurt themselves or others. Every time a commercial driver gets behind the wheel, they need to know that they're in the best possible shape to perform the job.

One thing that drivers should be aware of is that certain medications can disqualify them from driving. For example, a driver would never be allowed to take a controlled substance or prescription medication without a prescription from a medical provider and continue to drive. Taking illicit drugs, while illegal, is also extremely dangerous behind the wheel of such a heavy vehicle. The FMCSA also disqualifies drivers who take anti-seizure medications, with an exception potentially being available for those who have a prescribing doctor who explains that they are safe to drive.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a specific list of substances that disqualify drivers. They are listed in 21 CFR 1308.11 (391.42(b)(12)). If you are uncertain if the drugs you are taking disqualify you from driving, it's advisable to reach out to your attorney.

The medical examiner will take time to determine if the medication a driver is taking is safe. Each medication must be reviewed, including supplements, prescription and nonprescription medications. A letter from the prescribing doctor may also be enough to explain that the driver is (or is not) safe to drive.

Why is a medical exam so important for commercial drivers?

To start with, a medical exam is a requirement to keep a commercial license. The Department of Transportation exam must be performed by a licensed medical examiner that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration approves of and has listed on the FMCSA National Registry. The exam is valid for up to 24 months, but an exam doesn't necessarily lead to a 24-month approval. Medical examiners have the option to provide the driver with a certificate for less time, particularly when they have a medical condition that may need some amount of monitoring, like high blood pressure.

What should you do if you're hit by a driver who was not medically qualified?

If you are hit by a driver who did not pass a medical exam or who had obvious signs of medical issues, you should speak with your attorney. The hiring agency may have been negligent in hiring a dangerous truck driver.

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