Heavy Duty Trucking

DEC 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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18 HDT • DECEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com WASHINGTONreport T ruck drivers who use prescribed narcotics should not be allowed to drive, say the doctors who advise the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on medical matters. Because these medications are now permitted, the doctors told the agency that the current medical guide- lines should be revised to include a questionnaire that gives examiners more information about a driver's condi- tion and medications. The recommended ban on drivers using prescribed nar- cotics came from the agency's Medical Review Board and the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee. It would amount to a significant change in medical regulations if it were to become part of the official safety regime. Right now drivers are permitted to work while taking these drugs, provided the drugs are prescribed by a doctor who is familiar with the driver's condition. Any change in that approach would require a formal notice-and-comment rulemaking proceeding, which would require years of work. The recommendation does, however, signal the deep concern in the medical community about the risks of driv- ing while using Schedule II medications. The concern arises from research conducted by the agency's Medical Expert Panel showing that the opioids used in prescription pain relievers add moderate risk to the driver's job. The research also found that stimulants used to treat attention deficit disorder reduce the risk associated with that condition but can substantially increase driving risk if they are not closely monitored. The questionnaire the advisors recommend asks the examiner to list all the medications and dosages he has prescribed, as well as any medications he knows have been prescribed by another healthcare provider. It also asks what conditions the medications are intended to treat. The examiner then must say whether or not the medi- cation he has prescribed or the condition would adversely affect the driver's performance. The agency will have to clear the questionnaire with the Office of Management and Budget, but it should be avail- able to medical examiners within six months, said Larry Minor, associate administrator for policy and program development at the agency. Members of the Medical Review Board said the ques- tionnaire will improve safety by giving examiners a better way to account for these medications. "It will make a difference as far as our examiners are concerned," said Gina Pervall, medical director for Occu- pational Medicine Services at Johns Hopkins University. Advisors recommend restrictions on prescribed narcotics for drivers Read more about The CAT Scale Guarantee at www.catscaleguarantee.com 1-877-CAT-SCALE (228-7225) © 2014 CAT Scale Company My company's been using CAT Scale for about as long as they've been around. We had an incident happen, got a ticket for an overweight. Sent all the documentation to CAT Scale and they sent us a check two days later. If you want to be sure your weight's right and you want somebody who's going to back it up like they say they are, use CAT Scale. " " – Miller T Like us on Facebook. We've Got Your Back. ® Circle 150 on Reader Action Card

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