Everybody wants, and deserves, to have the same opportunities in regards to employment and job placement. And, in reality, we all should. However, what does this mean for those with disabilities who want to drive semi-trucks? The American’s with Disabilities Act exists to make sure that those who do suffer from disabilities are given the same opportunities as those fully-abled individuals. However, in some cases—like those working in the trucking industry—this could be an extremely dangerous cause of serious truck accidents throughout Illinois.
So, what does this mean to you, as a motorist, driving down the Dan Ryan Expressway? Well, you may not think much about it, but driving next to a 40-ton semi-truck and trailer can be disaster on wheels. Although not all disabilities should disqualify drivers from getting behind the wheel of a semi, it’s important to understand that some disabilities, when combined with the large, dangerous nature of these trucks, can become significant contributing factors of truck accidents.
Disabilities That Could Be Hazardous to Drivers in the Trucking Industry Include:
- Vision problems
- Hearing problems
- Heart conditions
- Seizure disorders
- Some sleep disorders
In many cases, not only are these health conditions potentially dangerous for truck drivers behind the wheel, but also the medications needed to maintain these conditions can be just as dangerous. In 2010, reports found that approximately 37,000 truck accidents occurred while a driver was taking prescription pain medications inappropriately.
In past years, studies conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Department of Transportation found that more than 500,000 commercial truck drivers were eligible to receive full disability benefits due to their health conditions. Although there are strict health and medical regulations for truck drivers in all 50 states, some of these reports found that several states, including New Jersey, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Florida featured drivers with the most frequent sanctions due to health related problems.
In an effort to be fair, ethical, and respectful of every person’s right to employment, despite any present disabilities, one would have to wonder if some medical conditions could be putting other drivers at risk of serious harm that might otherwise be preventable.
If you’ve been injured in a semi-truck accident, and evidence shows that the driver was disabled, it’s possible that the trucking company could be found negligent for placing a driver—who is deemed medically unsafe to drive—behind the wheel. If this is the case, we might be able to help.
Please share your thoughts on this subject with us. We’d like to hear from you. What do you think about disabled truck drivers operating semis? Leave us your thoughts on Facebook or share your ideas below.