The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) released its 2015 “Most Wanted List” of transportation safety improvements during the 94th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C. Four issues make a first-time appearance on the 2015 list, including “[requiring] medical fitness for duty.”

NTSBWhat is the issue?

According to the NTSB, the organization has investigated numerous accidents in which it found that the medical condition of the vehicle operator contributed to the crash cause. For example, in two train accidents, in 1996 and 2012, the NTSB found that the engineers operating the train lacked the ability to correctly see and interpret wayside signals due to inadequate color vision.

“Some pilots, vessel and train operators, and drivers are not medically fit to operate vehicles,” stated the organization. “Those suffering from impairing medical disorders should not be at the controls unless they receive medical treatment that mitigates the risk to the public.”

For commercial trucking, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator (“FMCSA”) has recently required training and certification for health care providers who perform certain medical examinations on drivers. However, as the NTSB points out, there is nothing in place to ensure recommended FMCSA guidelines are followed.

TRUCKWhat can be done?

The NTSB has made several recommendations for a “comprehensive medical certification system for safety-critical transportation personnel,” including:

  • Identification of specific conditions, treatments, and medications that initially disqualify applicants for duty, with certification contingent on further testing (specific to each condition);
  • Certificates that are good only for a limited time for applicants with conditions that are currently stable but known to be likely to deteriorate, to ensure appropriate retesting; and,
  • A review system for medical examiners’ work product(s) with both the information and capacity to identify and correct errors and substandard performance

How does this impact you?

Each year, innocent victims are injured in serious car and truck accidents caused by drivers who are not medically fit to be behind the wheel. These drivers choose to put the lives of others at risk by operating motor vehicles while suffering from impairing medical disorders.

With more than three decades of experience representing victims of serious automobile and truck crashes, John David Hart has successfully battled trucking companies head-on to improve the safety of all travelers. We also continuously battle insurance companies, fighting for our client’s right to compensation for injuries and damages due to another driver’s negligence and wrongdoing.

If you or a family member has suffered injuries or lost a loved one as a result of a serious car or truck crash, please consider contacting John David Hart at 1-800-247-1623 or for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.

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