In This Issue:
Hypertention and Drivers
July is UV Protection Month
CSA SMS Scores
Truck Safety Act
Idealease Safety Seminars
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Idealease Safety Bulletin

Hypertension and Drivers

Question: I have sent my driver for a DOT physical and the doctor has issued a three-month certification due to the blood pressure (hypertension) of my driver. Can my driver continue to be qualified by seeing the physician every three months and receiving a new medical certificate?

Answer: NO! The three-month certification for hypertension is a one-time certification. Hypertension, as defined by the regulations, is classified in three stages depending on the systolic and or diastolic blood pressure readings taken of the driver.
  • Stage #1 (systolic 159-140 and or diastolic 99-90): A driver with this condition may be certified for one year. Upon re-certification, if the driver’s blood pressure is equal to or less than 140/90 could they again be certified for one year. However, if the driver’s blood pressure is greater than 140/90 and less than 160/100 at the time of re-certification, the driver is issued a one time three month certificate.
  • Stage #2 (systolic 179-160 and or diastolic 109-100): A driver with this condition must be treated and given a one-time, three-month certificate. Once the driver has reduced the blood pressure to 140/90 or less, a one-year certificate is than issued and recertified annually.
  • Stage #3 (systolic equal to or greater than 180 and or diastolic equal to or greater than 110): A driver with this condition cannot be certified until their blood pressure has been reduced to 140/90 or less. The driver is then recertified every six months.
*It should be noted that once a driver has been diagnosed with hypertension, the re-certification for Stage 1 and Stage 2 will continue to occur annually and the recertification for Stage 3 will occur every six months. The regulations, as outlined in 391.43, specifically state that if a driver has hypertension and/or is being medicated for hypertension, he or she should be recertified more frequently.

What can you do to help control hypertension?
  • Eat healthy foods. Try the dietary approach to control hypertension. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. Get plenty of potassium. Eat less saturated fat, trans fat and total fat. Limit the amount of sodium (salt) in your diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, losing even 5 pounds can lower your blood pressure.
  • Increase physical activity. Strive for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
  • Limit alcohol. Even if you are healthy, alcohol can raise your blood pressure. Drink in moderation; it is suggested no more than one drink a day for women and two a day for men.
  • Don’t smoke. Tobacco injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries. If you smoke, get help. Ask your doctor to help you quit!
  • Manage your stress. Reduce stress as much as possible. Practice healthy coping techniques, such as muscle relaxation and deep breathing. Get plenty of sleep! 
Driver Health on the Road

As a driver of a commercial motor vehicle it is hard to eat and remain healthy compared to other professions. Just the physical demands of the job make it hard to stay physically fit, such as requiring you to sit to operate the vehicle, unless you are collecting garbage. Eating while on the job also does not lend itself to a healthy lifestyle. The following will provide you with some tips to stay healthy when eating fast food.
Try selecting from the following: Try avoiding the following:
The smallest sized hamburger Super-sized ANYTHING
Grilled chicken sandwiches
or salads
Fried or breaded chicken or fish;
as well as chicken nuggets
Low-fat dressings and sauces
(or none at all)
High-fat dressings and sauces
Diet soft drinks or preferably, water Extra/ sides of cheese

The #1 Secret To Reduce Blood Pressure

Everything about the human body is designed to move. The heart is just one of the muscles that moves blood around the body, and the heart depends on movement of the rest of the body to help it move blood around.  In other words, when you move your body you help your heart do its job.

As a commercial driver, your job is getting stuff from point A to point B as quickly as possible.  So you sit for hours on end with no movement.  This forces your heart to do all the work, to pump all the blood, for all of your body.  Something it was never designed to do.
So what’s the big secret to reduce blood pressure and stay out of hypertension?


Be conscious of sitting still for hours while you’re driving. Find ways to make even small movements in your feet, legs, hands, arms, shoulders and neck. The secret is in moving frequently.

Find ways to be active outside the truck. Ten minute activity periods, four or five times a day will go a long way to reduce blood pressure and maintain your DOT medical card at two year intervals.
  • When loading or unloading seems to be taking too long, take that time to move, stretch, and walk.
  • Park at the far end of the rest stop, and walk the long way around, to get into the building.
  • Don’t always eat at the truck stop. Walk to a nearby restaurant to eat. Walk to a nearby grocery store and buy some healthy food to eat on the road.
  • Step in and out of your truck 10 times after stopping for a meal. Or walk around your truck 10 times. Every extra step helps!
  • Walk around the parking lot, up and down the rows, and find the nicest looking customized truck.Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your heart. A healthy heart helps keep blood pressure low.
Regular physical activity also helps control your weight and reduce stress. Any regular exercise like walking or biking, even 15 minutes a day will do wonders for your health.

July is UV Protection Month

As a professional driver subject to the sun’s rays constantly you need to make sure you are wearing the proper sunglasses to protect your eyes.  In addition, proper sunglasses allow you as a driver to operate safely at an increased level of visibility. 

Tips for Choosing the Right Sunglasses

Sunglasses aren't just a fashion accessory. They are an important protection for your eyes against the damaging rays of the sun. It's important for you to know what kind of light you need to protect your eyes from and what type of light is not necessarily harmful. Here are some tips for picking the right pair of nonprescription sunglasses.  

Choose glasses that block 99 percent of ultraviolet (UV) rays. This is the most important feature of your sunglasses, and you should always choose sunglasses that provide this protection. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight is linked to eye disease, including cataracts. Some manufacturers' labels say UV absorption up to 400nm. This is the same thing as 100 percent UV absorption. Some glasses make additional claims for blocking infrared rays, but research has not shown a close connection between infrared rays and eye disease.

Don't rely on the price. Budget conscious? Many types of affordable sunglasses offer 99 to 100 percent UV protection, so you don't need to spend a lot of money on a pair of sunglasses.

Check the quality of the sunglasses. In addition to UV protection, you also want to check the optical quality of the lenses. You can easily test the quality of sunglasses by looking at something with a rectangular pattern, such as a floor tile. Hold the glasses at a comfortable distance and cover one eye. Move the glasses slowly from side to side, then up and down. If the lines stay straight, the lenses are fine. If the lines wiggle, especially in the center of the lens, try another pair.

Look for impact-resistant lenses. All sunglasses must meet impact standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety. No lens is truly unbreakable, but plastic lenses are less likely to shatter when hit by a ball or stone. Polycarbonate plastics, used in many sports sunglasses, are especially strong, but scratch easily. If you buy polycarbonate lenses, choose ones with a scratch-resistant coating.

Use protective eyewear instead of sunglasses for hazardous activities. If you are going to be engaged in outdoor activities like water or snow skiing that put your eye at risk for injury, don't count on your eyeglasses for protection. Protective eyewear is available with UV protection to shield your eyes from sunburn and glare.

Lens color tinting and polarization are personal preferences. There's no medical reason to recommend one tint of lens over another. Likewise, while polarized lenses work better at deflecting glare, they're not blocking any more harmful UV light than non-polarized lenses.

Once you have the right sunglasses, make sure you wear them, especially in the summer when UV levels are at least three times higher than in the winter. Also be sure to wear them when participating in winter sports, particularly at high elevations.
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July 17, 2015

Brought to you by Idealsafe

Question of the Week:

I got a warning letter from the FMCSA regarding my CSA SMS scores…what do I do?

A warning letter is your chance to improve your safety performance and compliance without further intervention from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Read the letter carefully because it identifies your company’s specific safety performance and compliance problems based on Safety Measurement System (SMS) data, explains how to access your safety record, and outlines the consequences if your company’s safety performance and compliance do not improve.
What happens next?

You do not need to respond directly to the letter. FMCSA will continue to monitor your safety performance and compliance through its SMS at It is also important for you, as a motor carrier, to regularly check your SMS data. If your safety performance and compliance do not improve, FMCSA may conduct additional interventions that could result in fines and/or suspension or revocation of your company’s operating authority. These interventions may include Offsite or Onsite Investigations.

Senator introduces Truck Safety Act

On July 10, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), announced the Truck Safety Act. The legislation seeks to modernize truck safety standards on U.S. roadways. Booker is the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure which has jurisdiction over truck safety.
Truck Safety Act provisions include:

  • Minimum insurance. Increases the minimum levels of insurance trucks must carry from $750,000 to $1.5 million. The bill also increases insurance levels to keep pace with inflation, and gives the Secretary of Transportation discretion to raise minimum levels if deemed necessary.
  • Collision avoidance systems. Requires a rulemaking for commercial motor vehicles to have crash avoidance systems, such as forward collision warning systems and lane departure warning systems.
  • Speed limiting devices. Requires the Secretary of Transportation to finalize regulations requiring commercial motor vehicles to have speed limiting devices to prevent speeding.
  • Driver compensation. Requires the Secretary of Transportation to mandate that employers compensate truck drivers for hours worked. Standard industry practice is for truck drivers to be paid based on miles driven and not hours worked.
  • Excessive commuting. Would require a study on the effects of excessive commuting. There are concerns that often truck drivers commute several hours to and from their base of operation.

Sign Up Now for one of Seven Safety Seminars to be held this Fall!

Idealease, its members and the National Private Truck Council NPTC will again be hosting safety seminars in 2015. The one day seminars this year will focus on basic safety and compliance, regulation changes and CSA. The seminars and will be provided to all Idealease customers, potential customers and NPTC members at no charge. The seminar provides important information applicable for both the novice and experienced transportation professionals.

October 7
Erie, PA
October 13
Toledo, OH
October 14
Grand Rapids, MI
October 14
Charlotte, NC
October 20
Las Vegas, NV
October 21
Los Angeles, CA
October 22
San Martin, CA

To register for an upcoming seminar in 2015 click on the following link:
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The Idealease Safety Bulletin is provided for Idealease affiliates and their customers and is not to be construed as a complete or exhaustive source of compliance or safety information. The Idealease Safety Bulletin is advisory in nature and does not warrant, guarantee, or otherwise certify compliance with laws, regulations, requirements, or guidelines of any local, state, or Federal agency and/or governing body, or industry standards.

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