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Light Shed on Truck Driver Diabetes

TruckingInfo.com released a report earlier this week revealing shocking information pertaining to truck drivers and diabetes. The article reports that according to leading trucking physicians, diabetes in truck drivers in under-reported, under-diagnosed and under-treated. In light of this, a new medical task force has been developed in an effort to garner awareness on the issue and provide consistent oversight of drivers with diabetes. One of the main problems the truck industry faces is that truck drivers with diabetes are dependent on insulin and are not permitted to drive commercial vehicles unless they are granted a special exemption.

However, despite these standards, current Department of Transportation examinations does not require a blood sugar test for drivers. Our Chicago truck accident lawyers learned that they rely only on the driver to self-report a diabetes diagnosis, and call for a urine test for sugar, protein and several other measures. On the other hand, there is no way to determine if a driver is in control of their diabetes solely based on a urinalysis.

Currently, our Chicago truck accident attorneys learned that a joint task force of leading diabetes treatment specialists is currently being convened to develop “consensus recommendations for diabetic drivers.” Similar to the tasks forces that have been developed for truck drivers and sleep apnea, the diabetes task force is looking to help define exactly what diabetes is, the best practices for treatment, as well as, the appropriate testing for large commercial vehicle drivers.

Additional statistics provided reveal that many truck drivers on the road are not even aware that they have diabetes. According to a study conducted by RoadReady, of the 100,000 plus physicals in the United States Department of Transportation’s database, only around 6.6% of drivers self-reported their diabetes condition. However, give the increasing body mass index numbers of truck driver, the prevalence of diabetes it more likely to be around the 11-12% range.

Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has recently published guidelines for the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, the article points out that the guidelines fall short when it comes to how well drivers are controlling their diabetes. For example, the soon-to-be established guidelines recommend that drivers are unable to pass their medical exam if they have experienced hypoglycemia that resulted in “seizure, loss of consciousness or need to be assisted by another person” in the last 12 months.

In the end, our Chicago trucking accident attorneys learned that in order for this problem to be adequately addressed, something must be done to address the underlying medical conditions faced by these drivers and properly diagnosis and treat the condition before drivers are permitted back on the roadway.