New guidelines aim to get truckers in shape

Posted at: 03/03/2014 6:32 PM
By: Jen Samp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It’s all about the weight you are carrying, says the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, but they are not just talking about the cargo.

Doctor Melanie Marshall says come May new recommendations for truck drivers needing a medical examination certificate to get a commercial driver’s license -- will be enforced.

The goal: To make sure commercial truck drivers are healthy.

“Many of them are overweight they don't have the best chances and opportunities to eat well or exercise,” Dr. Marshall said.

Part of the new recommendations will look at a driver's body mass index. It will have to be below 35.

“Remember that's a ratio to the height to the weight. So it depends how tall the driver is and how heavy he is,” she said.

Dr. Marshall says under the new recommendations, doctors could reduce how long a driver's certificate is valid or even deny it completely.

“It’s kind of a tough situation,” said Thomas Ruiz who is rushing to get an exam before the new recommendations are enforced.

“They are also trying to restrict me because I’m 20 pounds overweight,” he said.

Dr. Marshall says eye sight, blood pressure and sleep apnea testing will also change. Ruiz, who has a perfect driving record, says this has gone too far.

“It shouldn't really matter, but I guess it’s their law so you have to play by the rules,” he said.

Dr. Marshall says the older, more experienced truck driver will be affected the most.

“Because they will be the ones who will not be able to pass these physicals and the younger driver will have an opportunity,” Dr. Marshall said.

Doctors will also be required to become part of a national registry so that the FMCSA can hold the doctors accountable for each exam that they do by giving audits.