Do Unfit Truck Drivers Threaten Houston? Don't Ask HPD
was released this week about truckers and bus drivers maintaining commercial licenses despite being "medically unfit."
The report highlights some extreme cases, like the driver of a tanker truck with a prosthetic leg who is permitted to drive until 2012. Or a bus driver with "life-threatening kidney and heart conditions" who was seen slumped in his seat before his bus crashed, killing 22 passengers.
Truckers driving through Houston are licensed in all parts of the country, as well as Mexico and Canada. There's no local or state agency that can regulate drivers except law enforcement.
Houston Texans vs. Cleveland Browns
TicketsSun., Oct. 15, 12:00pm
TicketsSat., Oct. 21, 7:00pm
Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts
TicketsSun., Nov. 5, 12:00pm
Houston Texans vs. Arizona Cardinals
TicketsSun., Nov. 19, 12:00pm
Houston Texans vs. San Francisco 49ers
TicketsSun., Dec. 10, 12:00pm
The Houston Police Department has a Truck Enforcement Unit, and officers can pull over truckers with no probable cause and run safety checks. But a spokesman for the department says that officers do not check drivers for medical conditions.
"We're not doctors, and we can't confirm whether someone has a medical issue or doesn't have a medical issue," says Victor Senties, department spokesman. "If you have a medical condition that's going to hinder you driving a large vehicle, then you shouldn't be driving the vehicle in the first place, and you shouldn't even be issued a license."
So the people who issue commercial licenses are in charge of keeping sick drivers off the road. The study found, however, that "…many states only require individuals to self-certify that a medical examiner granted them a medical certification allowing them to operate commercial vehicles…As a result, we found several commercial drivers who made false assertions on their self-certification…" Shocking.
Members of Congress blame federal regulators for not implementing safety recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board in 2001.
-- Paul Knight
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Houston, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.