CMV driver with lifting restrictions

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CMV driver with lifting restrictions

Post by lrowe » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:38 pm

56 y/o male CMV driver, s/p lumbar disc surgery with fusion 2011. Has not been driving since then. Has permanent lifting restriction 50 lb per functional capacity evaluation (FCE). Presented for recertification exam. He is asymptomatic. It is my understanding that he would be disqualified due to this permanent restriction. Many truck drivers must be able to lift up to 75 lb. Until he can show documentation that he no longer has permanent restrictions, is this the correct action?

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Re: CMV driver with lifting restrictions

Post by Robert Swotinsky MD » Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:18 pm

1. The DOT physical primarily addresses ability to safely operate a CMV. For example, the medical standards are each focused on CMV operation, not other tasks. Some CMV operators do essentially no lifting. Some lift very heavy items. The medical examiner assumes the examinee may drive any type of vehicle, but does not similarly assume the examinee must be able to do any ancillary task including the most strenuous examples.

2. FCEs are not scientifically established as measures of maximum physical capacity. They instead demonstrate what a motivated person can do during a particular session with particular tasks.

3. Per Reed's Medical Disability Advisor, lumbar fusion may be, but is not typically, disqualifying from heavy (e.g., >50 lb) lifting.

I would sign his DOT card. If there are other aspects to the job such as heavy lifting that are problematic, they can be addressed outside the DOT Physical process.


Re: CMV driver with lifting restrictions

Post by drjchill » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:01 pm

I always get confused when I read the following (found on the FMCSA form): "There may be duties in addition to the driving task for which a driver is responsible and needs to be fit. Some of these responsibilities are: coupling and uncoupling trailer(s) from the tractor, loading and unloading trailer(s) (sometimes a driver may lift a heavy load or unload as much as 50,000 lbs. of freight after sitting for a long period of time without any stretching period); inspecting the operating condition of tractor and/or trailer(s) before, during and after delivery of cargo; lifting, installing, and removing heavy tire chains; and, lifting heavy tarpaulins to cover open top trailers. The above tasks demand agility, the ability to bend and stoop, the ability to maintain a crouching position to inspect the underside of the vehicle, frequent entering and exiting of the cab, and the ability to climb ladders on the tractor and/or trailer(s)."

Life, it would seem, would be easier if the FMCSA required employers to provide an essential job functions for their drivers AND the FMCSA card was only good for that specific employer.


Re: CMV driver with lifting restrictions

Post by Jamads » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:41 am

Or they shouldn't put passing and failing in the hands of a doctor? Just like any other job, there's light duty work. Truck drivers (if you haven't seen one working) rarely lift anything over 50 pounds, ever! Just like restrictions are given to employers for any other employee to be light duty, the same should be done for truck drivers. I'm a truck driver and the heaviest thing I lift that's job-related is a stick to thump my tires. Most drivers on light duty aren't required to unload freight. I'm not on light duty, but I don't touch freight anyway.

Truck driving is like an office job sitting at a desk. It's the other tasks that aren't driving related that can cause problems. I say if a doctor doesn't want to pass because a driver can't lift 50 pounds they should think how often a secretary lifts that much, which may be more if the secretary fills the copy machine.


Re: CMV driver with lifting restrictions

Post by jmaslanko » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:12 am

I 'm sure some of the concern pertains to liability in the emergency situation. A driver with a physical limitation may perform perfectly well 99+ per cent of the time. But could he safetly operate the vehicle if there were a sudden critical malfunction? Or could he extricate himself from a crash, if he had to do so before assistance arrives? Of course, these are issues with the driver who has no restrictions. But is the liability greater when a driver has a known impairment? It's the ongoing question of how much we tolerate a risk that is very small, but not zero.


Re: CMV driver with lifting restrictions

Post by drjchill » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:35 am

"Just for fun" but does the lifting limit apply for objects or to himself as he attempts to climb into a truck?

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