Eye expert testimony for trucking accidents can be an important component of litigation. Vision of participants and visibility at the scene of an accident are important variables that are scrutinized to help determine causation and damages.
Each year in the United States there are more than 350,000 accidents involving large trucks. Thousands of people ae killed or injured each year from trucking accidents. Large trucks are especially prone to serious physical injury because of their tremendous bulk and weight. A tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler can easily weight over 80,000 pounds. When fully loaded the weight of a large truck can become more than double. Some of these accidents are associated with problems related to vision of the participants involved in a trucking accident. A division of the United States Department of Transportation known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) specifies physical qualifications, including vision requirements, for commercial truck drivers.
Included in Regulation 391.41 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are the vision requirements for commercial truck drivers. This regulation requires commercial truck drivers to have distance visual acuity of ar least 20/40 in each eye with or without corrective lenses. Corrective lenses may consist of either eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, eyeglasses with telescopic lenses for vision correction are not acceptable. Vision requirements by FMCSA include a field of vision of at least 70 degrees in the horizontal meridian in each eye, and the ability to recognize the colors of traffic signals. Commercial motor vehicle operators are also required to have the ability to recognize the colors of devices showing standard red, green, and amber.
Visual acuity can be tested on a Snellen eye chart in the office of an eye doctor. The field of vision may be tested in a doctor’s office with a tangent screen or machine known as a perimeter. Most perimeters used in eye doctor offices are often of an automated type that produce a printout of the findings for documentation purposes. Color vision testing is usually administered with Pseudoisochromatic or Ishihara books. These books have a series of pages with color illustrations. Each page has a number that is disguised within a pattern of various colors. Test takers are asked to identify the number on each page. Although many people have of color deficiencies of varying types and degrees, the term “ability to recognize colors” is interpreted to mean if a person can recognize and distinguish among traffic control signals and devices showing standard red, green, and amber, to meet the minimum standard. Eye expert testimony may address issues related to vision in individual cases.
Eyeglasses may be used by commercial truck drivers and regulations by the FMCSA do not exclude bifocals or progressive lenses in spectacles. However, telescopic lenses are not permissible. Contact lenses are acceptable if there is sufficient evidence to indicate that the driver has good tolerance and is well adapted to their use. Use of a contact lens in one eye for distance visual acuity and another contact lens in the other eye for near vision is not acceptable. Correcting one eye for distance and the other eye for near with contact lenses is known as “monovision.” Vision correction with monovision is believed to compromise depth perception.
In addition to vision of participants in a trucking accident, there may be issues of visibility. Adverse whether conditions, dirty windshields, orientation of sunlight, visual distraction, presence of side mirrors, and objects that may block vision, may be important considerations in trucking accidents. A board certified ophthalmologist is an eye expert can provide eye expert testimony for trucking accidents, sometimes working in conjunction with an accident reconstruction expert, may analyze issues related to visibility.
Issues related to vision and visibility may be critically relevant when litigating claims involving trucking accidents. Eye expert testimony for trucking accidents can be important for addressing issues related to causation and injuries.
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