Posted at: 09/12/2012 6:37 PM
Updated at: 09/12/2012 6:43 PM
By: Gordon Severson
New Regulation for Trucker Medical Exams
(ABC 6 News) -- Truckers have incredibly demanding jobs. From the uncertainty of our weather, pressure cooker deadlines, and not to mention the responsibilities on the road.
That’s why every two years they’re required to go through a medical exam.
Now, thanks to a federal regulation from the Department of Transportation, those exams must be conducted by federally trained physicians.
"They’re dealing with everything from weather conditions to time constraints, they have to be able to physically turn and handle a very large vehicle with significant mass," says Dr. Clayton Cowl.
Dr. Cowl of Mayo Clinic knows these stresses first hand.
Every year he sees dozens of drivers for their bi-yearly exams.
But one day, he decided he'd like to walk the talk and got certified himself to driver a semi.
"It was a perfect example of how very little doctors sometimes know about what truck drivers do out there on the road and how many stressors are out there on these drivers," Cowl explains.
Dr. Cowl sits on a medical board that helped the Department of Transportation come up with a brand new regulation on doctors.
Requiring them to go through a special class before examining trucker drivers.
The regulation will go into effect May of 2014.
"These drivers tend to have higher prevalence of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary disease and muscle- skeletal injuries," Cowl says.
Over the past few years we've seen several medical emergency related crashes.
Including one where a trucker suffered a seizure and smashed into a Rochester business.
While the regulation won't prevent all crashes, it should level the field making sure every driver is treated the same.
“Hopefully if this is a safer group of people driving that there'll be less injuries and accidents on the road," says Cowl.
Mayo Clinic is sponsoring two training sessions at the Mayo Civic Center.
One on October 28th the other on November 11th.
Doctors and nurses will get to see the ins and outs of a semi as well as learn the many stresses drivers go through.