Disabled Truckers Lying To Keep Licenses - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Disabled Truckers Lying To Keep Licenses

Trooper Wayne Williams Trooper Wayne Williams

Medically unfit truck drivers are lying to keep their trucks on the road, which can put all drivers safety at risk on the road. 

According to the Governmental Accountability Office, Texas has 819,000 drivers with active commercial drivers licenses, with 22,600 receiving full federal disability benefits. Those are drivers that are getting behind the wheel with medical disabilities such as diabetes, loss of limb or sleep apnea.

The study concludes, that it's easy for truckers to fake a medical certificate and that there's almost no incentive to get a real one. Making it easy for those who have an unnoticeable disability to obtain a Commercial Drivers License. There is no database or central repository allowing state inspectors to verify the legitimacy of a medical certificate.

Trooper Wayne Williams says there is no way to prevent people from lying to get a CDL. "I'm sure people lie to us all the time. Unfortunately how they are caught is by being involved in an accident...epileptic seizure black out. That's unfortunate that's how we find out," Williams said.

That lack of honesty may have contributed to more than 5-thousand serious accidents that have killed drivers across the country. A major concern for drivers who use our local highways such as I-40 or I-27 frequently.  "What makes you think they can control  a big rig if they have a seizure? That scares me," driver Rick wade said.

Texas ranks in the top 12 for the most violators, in part because of the large number of highways in our state.

Local truck driver Joe Weezel says those who are lying, give good truckers a bad name. "Going down the road it'll show eventually. If it's absolutely lies it will all be caught and somebody will be hurt. Yeah it does give people a bad name in the trucking industry", he said.

Federal law requires, truckers to carry a medical certification proving they're healthy and renew it every two years. Statewide, anyone can apply and receive a CDL license without proof of a clean bill of health. Troopers say those drivers who admit to having a disability can still drive, they just need to have a medical waiver.

"You can walk in. You pass all the written, take the test, demonstrate your ability to drive then you'll get your CDL," Trooper Williams said.

Representatives from the trucking industry say aggressive, speeding drivers are just as dangerous as disabled truckers. They say, the trucking industry does favor stronger measures to weed out unfit drivers.

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