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October 12, 2017
in Blog, Truck Accidents

Will updates to FMCSA handbook prevent tractor trailer accident?

The majority of Pennsylvania motorists likely assume that the federal government has strict regulations that determine the physical requirements truckers must meet in order to safely operate their large commercial vehicles. However, other than a few definite disqualifications, the physical fitness of an individual may have been decided based on a handbook that was deleted from the agency’s website two years ago. Not having a standardized handbook could possibly result in an innocent family suffering physical injuries in a tragic tractor trailer accident.

Up until 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provided a handbook that helped medical providers determine the physical fitness of truckers. It removed that document after offering the explanation that examiners were using it as a regulation handbook and not as the intended guideline. However, the agency has recently assembled a panel of medical professionals who are tasked with revising the handbook in a manner that will be instructive without the intention of it being a regulatory document.

These physicians are tasked with addressing health conditions such as insulin-dependent diabetes and certain forms of sleep apnea as well as seizure disorders. The stated goal is to revise and update the physical handbook in such a way that drivers who are not able to meet the physical requirements are prohibited from driving while shielding examiners and the FMCSA from liability issues. One spokesperson from the agency stated that the ultimate goal should be to ensure the safety of those who are traveling alongside these truck drivers.

Officials claim that the handbook is intended to provide a best practices guideline and is not to be used as an official mandate. It is unknown when the document will be completed nor whether restrictions on certain health conditions will be revised. Pennsylvania families who have endured the trauma of a serious tractor trailer accident may never fully recover from the experience. Along with any lingering injuries, they most likely sustained heavy financial losses as well. These victims are entitled to seek recompense for their damages through the filing of a personal injury civil suit against the parties deemed liable for those significant losses.

Source:, “FMCSA Medical Experts Working to Update Medical Examiner Handbook“, Eric Miller, Sept. 28, 2017

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