Truck accidents happen for many reasons, but one unseen factor in accidents could be the health of the truck drivers themselves. The legitimacy of medical cards for thousands of drivers could now be called into question after an Atlanta-based medical examiner was charged with fraud for over-issuing certifications to CDL drivers.
While most CDL medical examiners issue about a dozen cards per month, this doctor issued more than 350 per month, prompting an investigation and arrest in early December. The doctor failed to perform critical tests such as hearing and vision, blood pressure and heart rate and urinalysis, and instead forged the numbers on the required form.
Highway to health certifications
CDL drivers in New York are required to undergo a medical examination to re-certify their license. As the mandatory tests would indicate, the examination is wide-ranging and ensures that a driver is not showing symptoms of a condition that could result in an emergency situation while driving.
The doctor, in this case, could have issued up to 8,000 medical cards while in practice, according to the report. Although the potentially false certifications were issued in Georgia, it could affect anyone on the road in the U.S., given the high rates of long-haul trucking across the country.
Currently, it is unclear how the U.S. Department of Transportation or state of Georgia will handle the thousands of potentially invalid health certifications. All drivers could be forced to re-certify, or it could be limited to just drivers with existing or past health issues.
The effects of this case could be wide-ranging, so it is important to be aware of the hazards of a medically unqualified driver on the road. If you are a driver of an automobile, you are more likely to be injured a semi-auto accident than the truck driver.
On average, 130,000 people are injured in a semi-auto collision every year, and 97 percent of all semi accidents result in a fatality. The average cost for an accident involving a fatality totals more than one million dollars in funeral and insurance costs while a non-fatal accident could cost drivers more than $60,000.
Uncovering the medical records of the CDL driver will take more than just a police report and an insurance claim, which is why you need the help of a personal injury attorney following an accident.