Friday, June 11, 2010

How Do You Get A Federal Wavier for Insulin Use, For Driving Truck

            Another beautiful day in the Ozarks, I Love being home with my family, but I feel a bit guilty, I feel like I should be running down the road with a hot load, or backing up to a dock somewhere for a delivery making money.

            I’ve been thinking a lot about the process of obtaining my wavier for insulin use while driving truck from the FMCSA.  I did know that it would be a process that would make me uncomfortable but the one thing I didn’t expect was that it would be such a hassle, so I thought today I would write about the process so others drivers who might be facing having to get a waiver might be able to streamline it a bit better.

            Once your Doctor has told you that you need to go on insulin you have a choice to make, do I or don’t I.  Well you better do it. Out of control diabetes is bad news for your body, it does all kinds of damage, some of it very painful, I am not going to get into it right now because I assume that you have already been diagnosed and have researched the disease

So you tell the Doctor ok, you stop and get your prescription on the way home and start with the injections the next day..

Next get on-line and download and print the application package. You can get it here Application package, FMCSA

Hopefully you have scheduled another appointment with you doctor that does your physical, if you haven’t then you need to for one month (for type 2 diabetes) after the day you start the insulin.  If you haven’t then you need to now.

You will also need to schedule an appointment with and endocrinologist and an eye doctor.

Be aware that they cannot fill the paper work out until after you have been on insulin for one month, and, this is critical, the paper work must be done exactly as the FMCSA wants it

It helps to have as much of the paperwork you can fill out done before you get to the Doctors office.  If the Doctor doesn’t have the DOT physical paperwork and you want to get it before your appointment, you can download and print it here

Follow the directions in the wavier packet exactly. 

One of the requirements is that you must have five years of medical records for your Dr and endocrinologist to review.  If you have had several Dr’s over the last five years this may be a problem, especially if you have moved several times or out of state as I had.

I did not know this but when you move from Doctor to Doctor not all of you records follow you. Say 3 years ago you went to Dr.A but you changed insurance and had to change Doctor’s. So you fill out the form at Dr. B’s office to have your records transferred, so far so good, but now it becomes necessary for you to go to Dr. C and you fill out the paperwork requesting your records from Dr.B and assume Dr. A’s records will come with your records from Dr.B however this is not so. By Law Dr B can only send his notes to Dr. C and Dr A’s notes are left behind.

So the moral of the story is get and keep your own set of records.

You must have five years worth of your medical history for the Medical Doc and the Endocrinologist to review and they must certify that they have reviewed them.

Keep your appointments have the Doctors fill out the paperwork then mail the required documents to the FMCSA office listed in the in the application form.

When the FMCSA receives your documents, a staff member will review them and if there are any errors or need for clarification they will send you a letter requesting that you have the doctors correct the mistakes or make the clarifications.  When this has been done and assuming everything else is correct, your application is then sent to the Medical Review Board.

At the Medical Review Board, Doctors that have been retained by the FMCSA will review your application and if in their opinion you are complying with your doctors treatment plan they will recommend for approval of your application.

Next, your application will be printed in the National registry for 30 days for public comment. If at the end of the 30 days no one has come forward to counter your request a waiver will be granted and mailed to you with all the requirements that make your wavier valid.

According to the staff member that I talked to at the FMCSA, about 98% of all applications that have been received since the program began have been approved.

Another thing is that once the FMCSA receives your application they have 160 days to approve or deny your waiver, so at worst this process should only take about 7 months and you have a very good chance of being approved.

The down side of this is that you can not drive truck during this 7 month process, if your lucky you can qualify for unemployment, or maybe your employer may be able to keep you on doing dock or yard work. At any rate you are on your own to keep money flowing into you home.

Truck driving can be a mighty good living in spite of all the government hassles.  If your not already a truck driver and think you might like to Drive the Big Rigs for a living I have written a book just for you. It will give you all the information you need to determine if you are right for the job or if the Job is right for you, you can get it here So, You Want to Be A Truck Driver

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sleep Apnea and the Truck Driver

Wow, got some great news this morning for all you Bass fishermen and women out there, there is a new bait about to hit the market that is just awesome. Got the inside scoop from the designer
/manufacturer this morning, keep tuned and I’ll let you know more as the time gets closer to distribution. I will let you know this right now,  there will be some exciting drawings associated with this new bait.

Back on subject, truck driver’s health.

In my previous blog I spoke of my experience with diabetes and the hassle I am getting from the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). In this one I want to talk about the up and coming hassle from the same source.

According to a Tech Brief posted by the FMCSA titled “Sleep Apnea Crash Risk Study” it is their intent to’” reduce the large truck fatality rate by 41% from 1996 to 2008. This reduction translates into a rate of 1.65 fatalities in truck crashes per 100 million miles of truck travel.”

Of course as a driver myself, I realize that this is a very admirable goal after all what driver wants to end his or her career in a ball of flame or a cage of twisted steel, or worse end another person’s life.

It is 2010 so I am sure that goal has been redefined but this Tech report is only one of thousands of pieces of information out there about OBS or Obstructive Sleep Apnea that the FMCSA has been gathering in order to justify more unfunded mandates on the hard working truckers of this country

If you do not know what OBS is, it is a condition where the fatty tissue of your throat and or your tongue restricts your breathing while asleep. This causes your body to respond in many ways causing you to wake up enough to clear the restriction so you can breathe. Most people do not wake fully but their sleep cycle is disturbed enough to affect their rest, resulting in day time sleepiness and as the severity increases, the sleepiness becomes sever with people falling asleep at some of the most awkward times, like when driving. This disease when not treated becomes progressively worse, adding complications such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Treatment is nearly always successful at stopping or retarding the progression of this disease. However the treatment is uncomfortable at first and many people have difficulty adjusting to it. The treatment consist of wearing a nose mask that is attached to a CPAP that blows a consistent stream of air through your nose to keep your airway open while sleeping.

I was diagnosed with this disease in 1992, so if the proposed rule change goes into effect (and it will) I will once again become disqualified until the doctors can prove that I am fit to drive a semi-truck, never mind the fact that I already have been on a CPAP the entire length of my career and have never had a fatigue related accident or incident.

What really bugs the living daylights out of me is the fact that the FMCSA is focusing on this problem and calling it a major cause of fatigue related accidents. OSA may be a factor in a very small amount of fatigue related accidents, but the truth is there are many more reasons, reasons that can be controlled without medical treatment, for fatigue related crashes, but the FMCSA isn’t even looking at those reasons. Instead the FMCSA is once again looking at the driver and requiring him to take the brunt of a problem that is not his fault.

There is a lot more I could right on this issues and will at a later point in time. I hope this has been informative for you. If you think you or someone you know has sleep apnea e-mail me and I will send you some links to get your research started.

Meanwhile, if you think you might want to Drive Truck for a living, you really need to get my book, it is only five bucks and it could save you thousands. You can download it here So, you want to be a Truck Driver