Operating a motor vehicle with any type of medical condition is always a risk as you never know when you might experience a medical emergency. That is why the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) prohibited individuals with a stable insulin regimen and properly controlled insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) unless they obtained an exemption from FMCSA. However, that recently changed after FMCSA revised its regulations.
After the final rule was made on September 18, 2018, FMCSA announced that individuals with properly controlled ITDM now qualify to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce. In order for a person to receive permission to work as a commercial truck driver in interstate commerce, their treating clinician must validate that their patient maintains a stable insulin regimen by filling out an Insulin-Treated Diabetes Mellitus Assessment Form (ITDM Assessment Form) and providing it to a certified medical examiner (ME). The certified ME can then determine whether the individual meets FMCSA’s physical qualification standards and can operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
According to Bulk Transporter, “the final rule will eliminate the exemption program that currently requires individuals with ITDM to incur recurring costs to renew and maintain their exemptions.” The source highlighted that this modification is expected to save nearly 5,000 people who receive these exemptions more than $5 million per year. Aside from that, “the final rule will also save new ITDM exemption applicants and their associated motor carriers approximately $215,000 annually in opportunity and compliance costs related with the exemption program’s waiting period.”
While this policy change is definitely something many commercial motor vehicle drivers are pleased with, it is still important to shed light on how dangerous it can be to drive with a medical condition, especially one that is not properly managed. That is why FMCSA has certain regulations in place that help prevent a driver from getting behind the wheel that could potentially pose as a danger to themselves as well as the others traveling around them.
How Does FMCSA determine if someone is physically able to operate a CMV safely?
Before an individual is granted permission to operate a commercial motor vehicle, they must go through certain types of physical exams to be sure they are healthy enough to take on the job.
As mentioned above, one of the requirements FMCSA requires of its drivers it that they complete a physical examination that “confirms [they] are healthy enough to safely perform the demanding job of a commercial motor vehicle driver and keep our nation’s roads safe.” This physical examination is conducted by a licensed medical examiner that is listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrations National Registry, which means truckers and other CMV drivers cannot obtain a physical exam by any doctor they choose.
After a physical exam is conducted, it is valid for up to 24 months, unless the medical examiner stipulates otherwise given they find a reason to reduce this timeframe so that they can monitor the individual’s condition. Because drivers of semis and other large commercial motor vehicles are transporting heavy loads that sometimes weight up to 80,000 pounds, it is essential that FMCSA requires their drivers to pass certain physical exams as well as ensure their drivers monitor their own health in the event they suffer from a medical condition.
Now, if you are currently a truck driver who operates out of San Jose, CA and were recently involved in a wreck, whether it was caused by your medical condition or another driver, it is important that you consult with a San Jose, CA truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Commercial truck drivers are entitled to certain types of benefits, which might include workers’ compensation, and our lawyers want to be sure you are properly compensated and provided with the benefits you are eligible to receive.