Posted at: 01/02/2013 5:10 PM
Updated at: 01/02/2013 6:19 PM
By: Dan Conradt
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- They roll down the highway 24 hours a day, and they already have a track record of safety.
But a new federal policy aims to make it even better.
"Safety is the biggest key," said David Yerhart, owner/operator of Y Waste Removal.
If you're the commercial driver of something bigger than the family car, chances are you need one.
"Basically what it is is any vehicle over ten thousand pounds you have to have a medical card," David Yerhart explained.
And they're not just for semi-truck drivers.
"Depending on the size of the vehicle, so it could be a school bus, it could be a public transit bus, it could be a vehicle for hire," said Garry Hart, program manager for Cedar Valley Services and Albert Lea Transit. "For commercial driver's licenses a person must have a certificate from the doctor saying they are able to drive."
“They check your vision, your hearing and make sure you can drive these vehicles because they are heavier and they are bigger,” added David Yerhart at Y Waste Removal.
Now, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says it's going to conduct more random checks for the medical certificates to make sure everyone is in compliance.
"If you've got it, if it's not expired that's the only thing that they question as long as you have a valid medical card on hand and it's good for two years," David Yerhart explained.
But there are some exceptions to that rule:
"Depending on their health condition, so sometimes if a person may be on some medication the doctor may only give them a one year certification, so every year they need to go in and get their certificate renewed with the doctor," said Garry Hart at Cedar Valley Services/Albert Lea Transit.
“And if you want to get a paycheck, that's what you're going to have to do," David Yerhart added.
"The random checks with that will assist with making sure the people on the road are licensed, that they have the certificate," Garry Hart told us. “Safety is their number one priority.”
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says increased random checks will help deter drivers from using fraudulent medical certificates.