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New Medical Protocol Sets Industry Standard for Bus Drivers With Diabetes

  • Published: 2014-01-23 (Revised/Updated 2014-01-24) : AARP.
  • Synopsis: New policy shows commitment to providing drivers with diabetes equal employment opportunities and ensuring public safety.

Main Document

Quote: "This protocol reflects Coach USA's commitment to the safety of their employees and customers, while delivering high quality service to the traveling public."

Coach USA, one of the largest transportation companies in North America, announced today that it has agreed to a new medical protocol for drivers with diabetes, which will ensure public safety and protect disability rights.

In an attempt to resolve certain legal challenges with regard to prior diabetes policies, the company has worked in partnership with the American Diabetes Association and AARP Foundation Litigation, a component of the charitable arm of AARP, the older persons' advocacy organization, to agree to the new arrangements.

Under federal motor carrier regulations, drivers with type 2 diabetes may drive provided that their condition can be managed by means other than the use of insulin. Drivers with diabetes managed with insulin may drive only if they can satisfy requirements for inclusion in a federal "diabetes exemption" program. However, federal regulations do not provide clear guidance in determining whether a driver with diabetes not using insulin is medically qualified to drive.

Coach USA's new policy shows its commitment to providing drivers with diabetes with equal employment opportunities, while at the same time ensuring public safety on the nation's roadways.

Current Coach USA drivers will benefit from a new "Diabetes Protocol" unveiled today. The new policy means drivers will not be disqualified based on results of a single urine or blood glucose test. However, it requires drivers with diabetes who have certain test results to provide additional documentation supporting their ability to drive safely

Don Carmichael, Executive Vice President & Senior Vice President Safety, Coach USA, stated: "We are pleased to have a new approach to assessing our drivers' diabetes. It is designed to keep healthy drivers on the road, protect our passengers and the public, and make sure that drivers who need medical attention get it.

"This protocol reflects Coach USA's commitment to the safety of their employees and customers, while delivering high quality service to the traveling public. We hope the new 'Diabetes Protocol' can be a model for the industry. We feel these medical protocols are the standard that enhances the overall medical guidance and safety of drivers in our industry."

Stuart Cohen, Senior Vice President, AARP Foundation Litigation, said: "This is a balanced plan to protect worker rights and public safety."

The American Diabetes Association provided expertise regarding the development of the updated and scientifically-based protocol. "Central to the American Diabetes Association's mission is the fair treatment of people with diabetes in employment. We commend Coach USA for adopting protocols that are based on current diabetes science and medicine," said John Anderson, MD, President of Science and Medicine, American Diabetes Association.

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