A recently released AP article notes that hundreds of tractor-trailer and bus drivers in the US carry commercial driver’s licenses despite also qualifying for full federal disability payments, and some of those drivers have suffer seizures, heart attacks or unconscious spells, according to a new U.S. safety study.
The problems threatening highway travelers persist despite years of government warnings and hundreds of deaths and injuries blamed on commercial truck and bus drivers who blacked out, collapsed or suffered major health problems behind the wheels of vehicles that can weigh 40 tons or more.
The U.S. agency responsible for cracking down on unfit truckers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, acknowledges it hasn’t completed any of eight recommendations that U.S. safety regulators have proposed since 2001. One would set minimum standards for officials who determine whether truckers are medically safe to drive. Another would prevent truckers from “doctor shopping” to find a physician who might overlook a risky health condition. officials who determine whether truckers are medically safe to drive.
“We have a major public safety problem, and we haven’t corrected it”, said Gerald Donaldson, senior research director at the Washington-based Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, whose members include consumer, health and safety groups and insurance companies. “You have an agency that is favorably disposed to maintaining the integrity of the industry’s economic situation.”
Unfortunately, it is unclear whether any of the eight recommendations will be done before President Bush, who has been very friendly to business interests, leaves office.