New Rule Helps Diabetic Truck Drivers Get Behind the Wheel SoonerJanuary 3, 2019
For years, there has been an ongoing debate about whether truck drivers who are diabetic and taking insulin should be allowed to operate a commercial truck. In November, a final ruling became effective that will make it easier for diabetic drivers to get a job while successfully managing their condition.
The rule eliminates the need for diabetic drivers to request an exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) if they have been disqualified due to their condition. Effective November 2018, a medical examiner and the healthcare professional who manages the truck driver’s diabetes are now responsible for deciding whether the driver is qualified to operate a commercial truck.
Prior to this rule becoming effective, diabetic drivers had to wait as long as three months for the FMCSA to review and process an exemption. Once the FMCSA completed their review, there was no guarantee that the driver would receive an exemption.
Drivers Using Insulin
According to a spokesperson from the American Trucking Associations, the new rule makes it easier for individuals who take insulin, and who manage their diabetes, to drive a commercial truck and operate in interstate commerce. There are many qualified drivers out there who will no longer have to go through the time-consuming exemption process, the spokesperson said.
According to the FMCSA, close to 25 percent of drivers who apply for an exemption do not receive one. In addition, while the average waiting period for an exemption is 77 days, the FMCSA had up to six months to decide prior to the new rule. Drivers who did not have an exemption were not allowed to drive, which meant that they often had no source of income for several months.
Even drivers whose diabetes was well-managed had to go through this bureaucratic process, because of a blanket exclusion against any insulin use.
New Rule Requires Disease Management
Even under the new rule, diabetic drivers are still responsible for convincing their healthcare professional and medical examiner that the condition is under control. This includes providing blood glucose self-monitoring records for the previous three months.
In addition, they must document how many times a day they test their blood glucose, provide details about any recent severe hypoglycemic episodes they have had, and provide documentation about any Hemoglobin A1C measurement tests taken within the past year.
The driver’s physician must also fill out an assessment sheet that indicates any complications associated with the disease, including renal disease, peripheral nephropathy, foot ulcers, gangrene, or serious eye issues.
While the new rule helps diabetic truck drivers by making the process more convenient, the medical examiner now has the added responsibility of collecting the necessary documents in order to determine whether the patient’s condition is well-controlled.
Unfortunately, not all FMCSA examiners are physicians. In some cases, there are physical therapists and chiropractors who become examiners. They do not have the same level of training as a physician, and diabetes is a complicated condition to manage.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Truck Accidents
If you have been injured in a truck accident involving a diabetic truck driver whose condition was not being properly managed, contact the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries and ensure that your legal rights are protected. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.