Avoid trucking accidents on New Jersey roadways this holiday season
Almost synonymous with the holiday season is the corresponding shopping season. Generally beginning on Black Friday and continuing through the end of December, millions of shoppers descend upon New Jersey retailers and malls looking for the perfect gift at rock-bottom prices.
Retailers often have to work overtime in order to keep their shelves filled with this year’s must-have gifts, but, in order to keep their shelves stocked, retailers need truckers to keep the products coming. Consequently, not only are the nation’s roadways filled to capacity with family-packed cars but also trucks desperately trying to satisfy the insatiable demands of the holiday shopping season. Hopefully truck drivers don’t spread themselves too thin this season as truck driver fatigue is a major cause of trucking accidents.
New Truck Driver Regulation
Unfortunately, driver fatigue is only one cause of trucking accidents. As truck drivers can spend several hours a day behind the wheel, any type of physical issue can severely impair a driver’s ability to operate their truck safely – which is why the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires commercial drivers to get medical physicals every two years. However, a new federal regulation that will be effective in May 2014 may alter the way truck drivers go about getting their physicals in the future.
Currently, truck drivers are able to obtain physicals and medical approval from a variety of healthcare providers – no specific type of DOT certification is needed by the physicians. Consequently, some physicians are more familiar with DOT medical requirements than others. Because of this, situations arise in which a truck driver shops around for a physician that will give them medical approval after another physician initially denies them due to medical reasons.
Fortunately, this will change after May 2014 when many commercial license holders, including truck drivers, will have to get their medical exams conducted by physicians certified and trained in DOT medical requirements. Hopefully, the change will standardize medical requirements for truck drivers and ensure that only those physically able to handle the rigors of truck driving will be able to get behind the wheel.
With any luck, getting physically deficient truck drivers off the road will make the roads safer and reduce trucking accidents. But, given that the new regulation doesn’t go into effect for some time, it remains to be seen whether or not it will have a large impact on trucking safety – at least it is a step in the right direction though.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident due to the fault of the truck driver or trucking company, it is important to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney to ensure your rights are protected.