For the Record

Truckers News Staff | September 01, 2010

Gunnels said no regulations would disqualify drivers for weight, body-mass index or neck size. “These are factors that are indicators that are evaluated during an examination by practitioners. But it’s unrealistic to expect us to set specific regulations about signs and symptoms like that,” she said.

Obstructive sleep apnea regulations are being worked into a broader set of rules categorized under respiratory system conditions. It is included in a regulation that says drivers cannot have a respiratory condition that interferes with safe driving, Gunnels said.

If sleep apnea has been diagnosed and treatment has been prescribed, drivers must be able to demonstrate they’ve been treated to pass a medical certification exam.

Drivers diagnosed with diabetes can work with an exemption and a waiver if they are being treated with insulin. During the exemption process, however, drivers will have to stay off the road for roughly a month, Gunnels said, while paperwork is cleared.

More than 40,000 examiners around the country are qualified to perform the medical certification exam, Gunnels said. Medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners also are generally qualified. FMSCA is working on building an interactive map on its website to locate qualified examiners.

Other health-related topics:

• Vision: Visual acuity of at least 20/40 in each eye with or without corrective lenses; distant binocular acuity of at least 20/40 in both eyes with or without corrective lenses; field of vision of at least 70 degrees; must have the ability to recognize colors of traffic signals and devices showing standard red, green and amber.

• Prosthetic devices: Amputees can drive if they have no other medical disqualifications, can successfully pass a road test and a skills performance evaluation, and wear a prosthetic device.

• Medications: Drivers can use drugs prescribed by medical practitioners who are familiar with their history and duties, as long as the substance does not hamper the driver’s ability to operate safely.

• Gunnels said state and company regulations sometimes can be more strict than federal rules.

Daimler, Volvo Challenge Navistar Test

Jack Roberts

Daimler Trucks North America and Volvo Trucks North America July 22 issued sharp rebukes of a “fluid economy” road test commissioned by Navistar International Corp. The test compares the performance of trucks equipped with selective catalytic reduction to trucks equipped with exhaust gas reduction technology. Both technologies reduce emissions of nitrous oxide.

Navistar said at a July 19 press conference a third-party test it commissioned shows the 2010 International ProStar+ with MaxxForce 13 Advanced EGR engine leads all Class 8 trucks in “fluid economy” — a measurement of diesel fuel plus liquid urea consumed.

Earlier, Navistar announced it was challenging claims by its competitors that diesel trucks equipped with SCR were achieving notably improved fuel economy. Instead, Navistar proposed “fluid economy,” tracking consumption of both DEF and diesel fuel, as a better measuring stick for diesel engine efficiency and performance.

In a statement, DTNA’s Freightliner said, “The credibility or validity of the test published by Navistar cannot be judged without revelation of more details. We run stringent fuel economy tests which are both accurate and substantiated. The combination chosen by our competitor does not comply with these basic premises for proper engineering work and thus doesn’t provide a trustworthy result.” strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.