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Chiro's guilty plea sheds light on trucker certification issues

How one man's negligence put thousands of potentially unfit drivers on the road

Because commercial trucks are so large, heavy and potentially dangerous, the licensing of truck drivers is stricter than it is for ordinary motorists. In addition to passing written and practical driving exams, would-be truck drivers must also go through a medical examination to be cleared for the road.

However, that does not always happen. Earlier this month, an Atlanta chiropractor pleaded guilty to clearing thousands of truckers without conducting thorough medical exams. Despite missing important elements of the exam, such as mandated urine tests, the doctor approved more than 6,000 drivers for duty.

While this chiropractor is located in Georgia, any holes in the regulation of commercial truck drivers is a safety issue throughout the country. Many drivers cover multiple states in a single run, so truck drivers who are improperly certified in any state pose a safety risk wherever they go.

Why a clean bill of health is important

Many people deal with minor health issues each day. Many people experience pain, discomfort or difficulty sleeping. Why is it so important that truck drivers be medically certified and in good health?

In a several-ton vehicle barreling down a freeway at high speeds, the slightest problem can quickly spiral into a serious - even fatal - accident. Truck drivers must be cleared to drive because an unexpected medical event can have disastrous consequences for many people.

In addition, truckers are forced to work in stressful, difficult conditions. Driving the nation's highways takes attention, alertness and the ability to maintain a seated position for hours on end. With so much stress placed on truck drivers' bodies, it is essential that they are evaluated by a doctor to ensure their own safety.

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