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Don’t get tense over hypertension regs

Donna Ryun
information services

Question: Is it a requirement by law for a driver on blood pressure medication to have a physical every year?

Answer: If you are taking medication for hypertension, and the medical examiner certifies you with a normal BP reading, he should issue a medical certificate for a one-year period.

If you have mild hypertension, the examiner should allow you a three-month period to reduce your BP, and your medical certificate should reflect a three-month period. Once you bring your BP within the accepted normalcy range, (BP reading must confirm blood pressure control in the third month) you must be certified annually thereafter.

Moderate or severe hypertension will cause you to not be qualified until BP has been reduced. Once your BP is reduced below the moderate/severe range, the examiner can issue one three-month certificate. You then have three months to bring your BP down to the accepted normalcy range. If you succeed, you may be issued a six-month certificate (BP must be confirmed in the third month of the six-month period). Thereafter, you’ll need recertification every six months.

Question: I am an owner-operator who is leased to a motor carrier. My neighbor and close friend is retired and would like to take some trips with me to see the country and find out more about what I do for a living. He’s great company and I’d like to make this happen, however, I’ve run into a roadblock … namely, my company.

My carrier says I have to have insurance protection for my friend and some kind of a rider’s pass. They can fix me up with both of these things, but of course, I’d have to pay for the insurance. They say that it’s the law even though I own the truck and have the payments and insurance premiums to prove it. I don’t know whether to believe them or not, but I don’t want to take any chances either way, so I need some information. Can you help?

Answer: In spite of the fact you own your own truck, your carrier is correct in advising that you need written authorization from them for your friend/neighbor to ride along.

Here’s the regulation, taken from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Handbook:

§ 392.60 Unauthorized persons not to be transported.

(a) Unless specifically authorized in writing to do so by the motor carrier under whose authority the commercial motor vehicle is being operated, no driver shall transport any person or permit any person to be transported on any commercial motor vehicle other than a bus. When such authorization is issued, it shall state the name of the person to be transported, the points where the transportation is to begin and end, and the date upon which such authority expires. No written authorization, however, shall be necessary for the transportation of:

(a)(1) Employees or other persons assigned to a commercial motor vehicle by a motor carrier;

(a)(2) Any person transported when aid is being rendered in case of an accident or other emergency;

(a)(3) An attendant delegated to care for livestock.

(b) This section shall not apply to the operation of commercial motor vehicles controlled and operated by any farmer and used in the transportation of agricultural commodities or products thereof from his/her farm or in the transportation of supplies to his/her farm.

While you don’t have to carry the company’s written authorization to allow passengers with you in the truck, the company must maintain the information in its files and may choose to give you a copy to carry in your truck as well.

In regard to its requirement for passenger insurance, the authorized carrier is legally responsible for the operation of your truck since it is leased to them. They would be liable if your friend was injured, so they have a valid concern. It sounds like they are willing to let him ride with you while you are under dispatch, but they want to make sure he is insured. The requirement for such insurance should be specified within your lease agreement, but there’s one thing I want to make clear — they can’t make you buy the insurance from them.

Although it looks like your motor carrier holds the cards when it comes to allowing your friend to travel with you, they CANNOT require you to obtain passenger accident insurance (or anything else) from or through them. You are free to purchase the coverage from the insurance provider of your choice, according to the federal leasing regulations, 49 CFR 376.12, (i):

“Products, equipment, or services from authorized carrier — The lease shall specify that the lessor is not required to purchase or rent any products, equipment, or services from the authorized carrier as a condition of entering into the lease arrangement. The lease shall specify the terms of any agreement in which the lessor is a party to an equipment purchase or rental contract which gives the authorized carrier the right to make deductions from the lessor’s compensation for purchase or rental payments.”

OOIDA’s passenger accident coverage is inexpensive ($15/$20 per month, depending on which plan you choose), and it’s a stand-alone policy, meaning no additional insurance purchases are required. Check with an OOIDA Truck Insurance agent for specific information. The number is 1-800-444-5791. Someone will be happy to help you with this.

If you have questions that you’d like answered, please e-mail them to dryun@ooida.com or send them to me at PO Box 1000, Grain Valley, MO 64029. Although we won’t be able to publish all questions in Land Line, you will receive a response.

Aug/Sept Digital Edition