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Capitol Health Call
January 9, 2013

Highway Safety

JAMA. 2013;309(2):126-126. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.173967

Some drivers of commercial vehicles who should not be on the road because of a health impairment are still behind the wheel, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported on November 30 (http://tinyurl.com/avu7bw4).

The report, prepared for Sen Frank R. Lautenberg (D, NJ), chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, noted that gaps exist in enforcing drug and alcohol testing and medical examinations of individuals holding a commercial driver's license, which allows them to operate tractor trailers, school buses, cargo vans, or other commercial vehicles. As an example of the danger these gaps pose, the report authors were able to identify 204 commercial drivers who drove a commercial vehicle as recently as 2011 despite having epilepsy, a disqualifying medical condition. Of those drivers with epilepsy, 31 had been involved in accidents.

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