If you are a truck driver with diabetes, rejoice! The American Trucking Association has recently approved a new rule helping diabetic truck drivers to get behind the wheel sooner without having to wait for months to get their exemption approved.
First and foremost, it is understandable why there are restrictions for diabetic truck drivers in California and all across the United States. Our Los Angeles truck accident attorney explains that truck drivers who are diabetic and taking insulin are more likely to cause a truck accident than those who do not have diabetes.
Diabetes is one of those medical conditions that can impair the driver’s consciousness and ability to operate a vehicle, which is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict rules for evaluating truck drivers for their fitness to continue driving commercial trucks.
A diabetic truck driver is most at risk when he or she experiences hypoglycemia while driving, as a deficiency of glucose in the bloodstream can lead to a truck crash.
Whether or not diabetic truck drivers should be allowed to operate commercial trucks has been subjected to a long-running debate for years. “Finally, lawmakers have seemed to put an end to this endless debate,” says our Los Angeles truck accident lawyer at JML Law.
According to a new rule, which became effective on January 1, 2019, it will be easier for truck drivers who have diabetes to get a job or continue working while managing their medical condition.
Although the new rule does not eliminate the need for truck drivers to keep their diabetes under control, it does help them get back behind the wheel sooner. The rule once and for all eliminates the need for truck drivers to request an exemption from the FMCSA after they have been disqualified from operating trucks due to diabetes.
From now on, a medical examiner and the healthcare provider who manages the truck driver’s medical condition are now solely responsible for making the determination as to whether or not the driver’s ability to operate a commercial truck is affected by diabetes.
“Before this rule was enacted by lawmakers, diabetic truck drivers had to wait for months to get the FMCSA to review and process their request for an exemption,” explains our experienced truck accident attorney in Los Angeles. And the most bizarre thing was that even if the FMCSA completed the review of their request, it did not necessarily mean that the driver would get his or her exemption approved.
Previously, nearly 25 percent of all truck drivers who requested an exemption never received one from the FMCSA. And the worst part is that the average waiting period for receiving an exemption was 77 days, while the FMCSA could take up to six months to decide whether or not a truck driver is qualified to continue operating commercial trucks with diabetes.
However, in no way does it mean that all diabetic truck drivers will be allowed to operate trucks. Far from it. Under the new rule, only those who successfully manage their diabetes and convince their medical examiner that their condition is under control will be allowed to drive trucks.
Typically, in order to convince a healthcare provider that a truck driver is qualified to continue driving while taking insulin, the driver will have to provide blood glucose self-monitoring records for the previous three months. Are you a diabetic truck driver who has been in a truck accident? Or have you been injured in a truck accident involving a driver with diabetes? Either way, speak to our Los Angeles truck accident attorney at JML Law. Schedule a free consultation by calling our law firm at 818-610-8800.