Trucker Health Problems Could Cause Collisions | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Authored By:  John C., Esquire & Guest Aurthor, Richard Parocha, Intern

There has been a growing number of truck-related accidents on highways during the last couple of years. These incidents may be related to the fact that many of these truck drivers are suffering from health issues such as seizures, heart attacks, or unconscious spells that have caused them to get into accidents. In fact, truckers have violated federal medical rules in every state. The Associated Press points to reports that there are 7.3 million commercial driver violations compiled by the Transportation Department in 2006 for breaking these rules. Those drivers who fell asleep or were physically impaired were the leaders of this group. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,  which is in charge of trucking regulation, says that it hasn’t implemented any of the recommendations that U.S. Safety regulators have proposed since 2001. Sound bad? It gets worse.

A gasoline tanker fell off an overpass and exploded on Interstate 95, which runs through our native Virginia, killing 4 people. Investigators believe that the man who drove the truck had suffered a heart attack or some other “medical emergency.” Another Virginia trucker didn’t have the proper federal paperwork required for amputees, and in Georgia a man smashed his 70,000 pound tractor trailer killing 4 women. He was later acquitted of second-degree involuntary manslaughter because he suffered a diabetic episode which “put him in an altered state of consciousness.”

Now truckers say that the government should enforce existing rules, not make new ones. The old adage goes: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but how do we know if the system is broke if we don’t enforce it. First the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration needs to meet those recommendations that were set by the U.S. Safety regulators, in which there are only 8 to accomplish. Finally drivers, please, if you’re tired, then sleep or get some coffee; if your having health issues, see a doctor. Even if you are delivering our goods, your not doing any good if we’re dead.