Some of our readers may have seen the news that a truck driver who failed to stop for slowing traffic ahead of him in a crash at the end of last year concealed his diabetes to obtain the necessary medical clearance, according to federal investigators. The truck accident, which took place in a neighboring state, resulted in the deaths of a man and a boy in the car the truck hit after failing to stop in time. The 56-year-old truck driver from Massachusetts was informed earlier last year that as an insulin-dependent diabetic, he could no longer drive across state lines.
By going to another doctor months later, however, and concealing his medical condition, the driver received clearance to drive. The falsification of federal medical documents, in this case a declaration of imminent hazard, is a crime which can result in a $10,000 fine or $105,000 fine if the violation results in death. While concealing his diagnosis may be a federal crime, the driver also failed to seek a possible federal exemption. Because the onset of diabetic shock can cause a driver to be unconscious without warning, insulin-dependent diabetes is disqualifying for commercial drivers.
At the time of the accident, the driver was not qualified to drive an interstate truck. The trucking company owned by the driver has also been shut down since the accident. The one-man trucking company was deemed an imminent hazard to public safety because of its violations of safety regulations, including failure to keep safety records. The declaration of imminent hazard in question also noted the driver’s history of unsafe driving. Federal investigators report he has at least 11 speeding convictions, 5 convictions for making unsafe lane changes and 7 convictions for failing to stop at stop signs or failing to obey stop signs.
In a similar accident in 2014 in Massachusetts, the truck driver was cited for failing to stop his truck in slowing traffic, which resulted in him hitting the back of a passenger vehicle. In the most recent accident, the truck’s brakes were checked to determine if they failed and it was noted that the box truck he was driving did not leave skid marks. It was also noted that signs warned of the slowdown and it was estimated the truck driver was travelling 60 to 80 miles per hour at the time of the accident.
When a negligent truck driver, such as an unqualified driver or driver who fails to adjust to roadway, traffic or weather conditions, harms victims, legal resources may be available to help victims and their families.
Source: Portland Press Herald, “Trucker in fatal crash hid medical condition, a possible crime,” Matt Byrne, Jan. 6, 2017