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Medical test may keep some drivers off the road

By: Stephanie Guadian
EL PASO, Texas - The U.S. Department of Transportation is taking new measures to prevent truckers from driving while drowsy. The aim is to keep all drivers safe.

Recently, truck drivers have seen more attention paid to their health. Truck drivers are required to have a commercial drivers license and a medical card from the Department of Transportation. The medical card proves drivers are fit for duty. And starting in May, passing the test will be a lot tougher.

Dr. Jose Vela is a certified medical examiner. They will soon be the only doctors who can perform the physicals drivers need to get behind the wheel.

"There's not going to be people going from one doctor to the other and having different kind of criteria, said Dr. Jose Vela.

For example, drivers with a high body mass index or a large neck will undergo a sleep study to prove they can handle the grueling hours.

That's going to go to a national database. And if he doesn't pass, it's going to appear, said Vela.

A sedentary job and fast food can quickly put many at risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Some truck drivers are turning to four-legged passengers for help. Lakota, the dog, has been riding shotgun with his owner for six years. The two walk together during stops.

It's a step in the right direction. Experts say the stricter health guidelines will help keep truck drivers and others on the road safe.

This is a link to a government website that includes a list of certified medical examiners.



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