New Clients: (918) 716-5800
24/7 Live Call Answering - Toll Free Statewide 833-ASK-WLAW
Tulsa Personal Injury Attorney

Tulsa Law Blog

Schedule Consultation

Truck Driver Health Issues Can Lead to Crashes

Posted onJune 7, 2021

Truck Driver Health Issues Can Lead to Crashes

There are health requirements for many professions to ensure that people perform their jobs in a safe manner, and commercial truck driving is no different. In order to obtain or renew a commercial driver’s license (CDL), an individual must undergo a health evaluation and submit a report from a medical professional regarding their health.

Unfortunately, some people develop health issues that can make driving a semi-truck dangerous, and they fail to inform their employers or the licensing agency. If a driver’s unmanaged health issues lead them to crash, anyone injured as a result should discuss what happened with a Tulsa truck accident attorney.

Risky Health Conditions

Some health conditions prohibit a person from legally operating a semi or other commercial truck, while others require proper management and treatment in order to hold a CDL. Some disqualifying conditions include:


  1. Untreated heart disease or conditions – This runs the risk of a cardiac event while behind the wheel;
  2. Untreated high blood pressure – This increases the risk for heart attack or stroke, or it might cause concentration issues;
  3. Untreated diabetes – This can lead to seizures, stroke, or other medical events;
  4. Epilepsy and other seizure disorders – Seizures render a driver unconscious with violent muscle contractions;
  5. Vision problems – Uncorrected poor vision or issues with peripheral vision can impair driving abilities;
  6. Hearing problems – Auditory issues can disqualify a driver if they cannot be corrected;
  7. Certain prescription medications – If a necessary prescription has certain side effects, it can render a driver ineligible;
  8. Prescription for medical marijuana – Even if a driver does not drive while impaired, even having a medical prescription will disqualify them;


We all know that our health is fluid, and new issues can arise on a regular basis. A driver might pass the health examination and obtain a CDL, only to learn a few months later that they need a medication that has impairing side effects. If the driver takes the medication and continues driving without informing anyone, they might cause a truck accident.

If a driver knows they are at risk of possible emergency medical events behind the wheel and continues to drive, they put everyone else on the road at risk. If a driver has a heart attack or seizure while driving, they will almost certainly lose control. When a large semi-truck weighing tens of thousands of pounds careens down the highway without someone in control of the wheel, it can, of course, cause widespread damage and catastrophic injuries or death.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is not – as of now – a specific disqualifying condition. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recognizes that untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of a crash. Sleep apnea can cause a person to wake up hundreds of times per night, affecting the quality of sleep they get.

This can lead to extreme fatigue, which can cause a lack of focus, slower reaction times, or even nodding off at the wheel. Research shows that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, and drivers who know they have untreated sleep apnea should know the risks the condition presents.

Health Problems Correlate With More Crashes

A study supported by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that commercial truck drivers with three different physical ailments had a highly increased frequency of being involved in accidents. Conditions considered included obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, renal disease, sleep apnea, visual problems, epilepsy (seizure-free for ten years), past stroke, musculoskeletal disease, opioid use, and major psychiatric illness.

Consider the following:

  1. Drivers with three ailments = 93 crashes per one million miles
  2. All drivers = 29 crashes per one million miles

While drivers with three ailments are rare, even one or two health conditions can increase a driver’s risk of crashing and injuring others. Trucking companies should be aware of driver health issues, as well, and keep unsafe drivers off the roads.

Also read: Can Truck Passengers be Distracting and Lead to Accidents?

Speak with Our Tulsa Truck Accident Attorney About Your Rights

If a truck driver crashed and caused you injuries, you want an experienced truck accident attorney from Wandres Law, PC, on your side. We can evaluate the cause of the accident and help you seek compensation for your medical bills and other losses from liable parties. Call (918) 641-4044 or contact us online for your free case evaluation today.

request a free consultation

Discover why our clients return to us and recommend us to their family, friends and acquaintances.
Contact us today and put one of Tulsa's preeminent law firms to work for you.

    • call us now

      Local Phone Number (918) 641-4044

      Toll Free Statewide 833-ASK-WLAW

    • Tulsa Office

      1202 East 33rd Street
      Tulsa, OK 74105

    • Oklahoma City Office

      3030 NW Expressway
      Suite 200 # 392
      Oklahoma City, OK 73112