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New law changes focus on keeping truckers healthy

Updated: Friday, August 23 2013, 09:42 PM CDT
Reported by: Ewa Roman
MIDDLESEX -- Some truck drivers at a Middlesex Township truck stop say they're all for tougher medical exams. 

"This way, you have people out, who shouldn't be driving, who have a medical condition that's being caught or treated and you have ones that aren't being treated," said Jolynn Vine, truck driver from Texas.

"There are drivers out here that should be looked at that have a medical condition. I'm not talking about smoking, but a medical condition that's hereditary and they don't know about it, could kill them on the road or they could kill somebody else," said Anthony Vibe, truck driver from Texas.

And people in the medical field are gearing up for the changes as well. Dr. Clayton Cowl made a pit stop in Dauphin County Friday, teaching doctors, nurses and chiropractors about the new federal medical examinations and requirements.

"What we're trying to do is actually close the loophole, so when a driver goes and sees an examiner there will be a specific number and registry for when that examiner does an exam and they'll be reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on at least a monthly basis if not sooner," said Cowl, Mayo Clinic physician.

The changes mean medical exams will only count if they're performed by a health care provider, who is specially trained and certified.

Right now, most truck drivers have to get checkups once every two years. That will change to at least once a year.

And right now, they can go to any doctor.

Cowl hopes tougher exams will force a culture change for some of these drivers, who suffer from eye strain, chronic stress and obesity.

"If you were at a truck stop two days ago, I saw two that were probably close to 380 pounds," said Pat Barron, truck driver, from Texas.

The new rules take effect May 2014 and are not part of Obamacare.
New law changes focus on keeping truckers healthy

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