During this week’s episode of the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett is joined by Dr. Steven Bennett to discuss all things physicals, truck driver health concerns, and more.
Key topics in today’s conversation include:
- Dr. Bennett’s background (3:35)
- How to qualify to give a DOT physical (5:57)
- Blood pressure’s hindrance to physicals (9:34)
- Don’t avoid getting a physical (13:42)
- Common physical mistakes (17:11)
- Not telling the whole truth about your health (18:43)
- Do doctors target people? (29:52)
- A rise in cardiac problems (37:49)
- Why doctors can’t clear you to drive (40:53)
- Medication issues (42:53)
- Change to the eyesight rule (46:34)
Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruceoakley.com
Dr. Steven Bennett 0:12
It’s about the rules to follow so that we have safety out there. That’s the premise of this. We want to protect the public. We want to protect the drivers. We want to protect the company. All of that goes hand in hand to work together.
Jeremy Kellett 0:27
Welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business, and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley Trucking, headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner-operators and their families by giving them up-to-date information concerning Oakley Trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories. Also to give an inside to outside truck drivers that might be interested in joining the Oakley family.
This Jeremy Kellett, Director of Recruiting at Oakley Trucking, and I’m your host for this podcast. This is episode 108. So on today’s episode, we got a special guest. Dr. Steven Bennett is joining me today and we’re going to talk about health with truck drivers. Specifically, physicals, getting physicals, what it takes, how to prepare for a good physical. Just some of the health concerns with truck drivers that are out there today and what he sees from his eyes. I think it’s gonna be some really good information that we got coming up here. So we’re going to talk to him here in just a minute, but first let’s hear from Arrow Truck Sales, our sponsor.
Keith Wilson at Arrow Truck Sales in Springfield, Missouri is currently offering $1,000 off your first month’s payment when you finance with transport funding, or $1,000 off the truck price if you bring your own financing. They’re also discounting the cost of an extended warranty by $500. Arrow Truck Sales has been a longtime partner with Oakley Trucking and that’s because they specialize in first-time truck buyers, they don’t do any leases, they have the best-used trucks money can buy (because used trucks is all they do, they don’t sell any new trucks), and the biggest reason that Arrow and Oakley are partners is service after the sale. It is very important to us at Oakley that when we refer you to a company, that they are a good company with good people, they do what they say, and they understand our requirements. So give Keith a call at 573-216-6047 for a good used truck and tell him you heard about it on the Oakley podcast.
Okay, let’s get started right into this. This is such a good topic that everybody needs to hear, especially our owner-operators. I want them to get good information from the Oakley podcast. That’s why this thing started, to try to get good information to our owner-operators and their family so they’d be more successful at doing business and this is just another avenue of how we can do that. So be sure and spread the word about the Oakley podcast I appreciate everybody listening and watching on YouTube. We shouldn’t comment and subscribe, like us, and check us out and if you got anything you want me to talk about any subjects that we need to bring up or that you think would benefit owner-operators let me know. But let’s get started with Dr. Bennett. How’re you doing this morning, Dr. Bennett?
Dr. Steven Bennett 3:18
I’m doing good.
Jeremy Kellett 3:19
I appreciate you coming in and doing this with me. You’re just down the road. It’s very convenient. Give our listeners a quick introduction of you and your background just so they know who we’re talking to today.
Dr. Steven Bennett 3:35
My primary field is chiropractic. And then I have a specialty degree in chiropractic orthopedics. So that is basically the non-surgical treatment of trauma injuries. And so my background goes quite a bit into trauma, I do have a vast background with that treat a lot of injuries. And so with the DOT, it’s kind of like a whole different mixture, a whole different thing. But because of my background, and that I have an interest in DOT, I have an interest in OSHA requirements to be able to help drivers to be able to help companies. And so back years ago in 2014, when they mandated that we had to be certified to do this, it changed the whole perspective of things because there were so many doctors out there that did not want to go to the back to school to get certified to do this because so many people were doing it wrong right? And because of that’s what led to them policing the doctors into saying okay, if you want to do this we’re going to have to have you certified federally as a federal medical examiner to do these physicals on truck drivers because you’re failing us and as a profession, the medical profession we were because there was too many people that would go in and they just sign off on it.
Jeremy Kellett 4:56
Oh, yeah. We definitely remember though, so they came up with the registry. So where are you from? You from here?
Dr. Steven Bennett 5:02
I’m from Little Rock here. Grew up here, born here, left to go to school and then eventually came back here got a family, wife, and four kids, seven grandkids, and also one on the way. One on the way. Yeah, be number eight on the way out right on the way. So I’ve been doing this for a long time. Do they live fairly close? Are they live everywhere from Austin, Texas to here locally to Jonesburl to Ohio.
Jeremy Kellett 5:02
Oh, man. So they stretched out a little.
Dr. Steven Bennett 5:04
They get stretched out? Yes, they do.
Jeremy Kellett 5:36
Well, that’s good. And speaking of that registry, I’m sure most of our listeners know that, to be able to give a DOT physical, you have to be in this registry, certified to give a DOT physical. How hard is it to get in a registry? Without going in too deep, what do you have to do to do that?
Dr. Steven Bennett 5:57
You have to go through a school or a class with it. It’s about 27 modules. It takes about 12 to 14 hours on an average, to go through everything that’s just getting through the classes, then you have to really study for the test, because the test is going to consist of somewhere in the neighborhood of about 120, under 25 questions, and you’re gonna need to make 80% on it to pass. Okay. So what happens with a lot of times we’re set while ago was doctors didn’t want to go back and have to take a test to say, Hey, can you do this. So once doctors go through the class, which is mostly it’s not how to do physical, we know how to do that. We’ve been doing that for years and years. It’s all about the regulations, it’s about the rules. And to follow, so that we have safety out there, that’s the premise of this, we want to protect the public, we want to protect the drivers, we want to protect the company. So all of that goes hand in hand to work together. So that the medical food physician themselves are doing a good job on the so this guy to help ensure that and then they also audit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, they monitor and audit what we do in so random audits, random audits that take place COVID kind of slowed that down a little bit, but they do random audits, especially sometimes if there’s been an accident, and they find that somebody maybe fell asleep at the wheel. Okay, so what’s that background? Like? What happened? Are they on a CPAP? Are they not have they been tested was it recommended, but they didn’t do it and found someone else to pass them. So that’s where it comes into play with the things that—
Jeremy Kellett 7:44
Is their follow-up training to reconnect registery?
Dr. Steven Bennett 7:47
There is. There’s follow-up training. After five years, you have to do a follow-up training course, after five years, after 10 years, you have to get recertified. That means you got to go back to a class, you got to go back through testing again.
Jeremy Kellett 7:59
I’ll bet that’s a challenge just staying up with all the rules because, golly, you see so many people with different ailments or different medication or different things wrong. That would be a challenge to be up on all the rules that you got to be.
Dr. Steven Bennett 8:17
It is. It changes all the time. We’ve seen vast changes in things justice, when when I started this in 2014, and got certified, there have been numerous changes that have taken place from things with diabeetus things with vision, medications that have changed, so all that stuff has.
Jeremy Kellett 8:36
Dr. Bennett does our Oakley physicals. Every Monday we send group down there to you to get the physicals done. How long have we been doing that? A year or two?
Dr. Steven Bennett 8:39
A little over a year.
Jeremy Kellett 8:40
Little over a year. So it’s very convenient This is right down the road and able to do it on a certain time every day. But when we tried to prepare our guys as recruiters we’re talking to a recruit that’s coming in and also we can talk about the resort guys to get recertified that are already here. But the some of the new guys coming in, we’re always asking them questions. I mean, we’re playing part doctor as a recruiter, because we’ve learned some from you that you better start playing a part doctor, if you get them prepared to come take a physical. What are some of the things that you’re seeing maybe now that’s common that messes guys up when they come in to do a physical? We know one is blood pressure.
Dr. Steven Bennett 9:34
Blood pressure is the number one thing is it that affects drivers because of the fact that in as a driver, you’re sitting there for so long and then you’re out on the road, you’re eating stuff, that’s not always the best for you out there. So the weight gain can come down especially as we get older, it’s easy to gain the weight. And then what happens is the more mass we have the more blood pressure, more pressure it takes to kind of push through that and then there There are genetic things that cause blood pressure inherited. So there are so many things, but blood pressure by far is number one thing that we have to deal with. So when people come in to be prepared, the one thing that we get so often with somebody that’s not had blood pressure issues, is they tell us, well, I didn’t have blood pressure problems last week, or last month or three months ago, when I went to my doctor. And sometimes they don’t blood pressure can change, suddenly, somebody has a condition, we’ve seen people who have a condition like COVID, and then all of a sudden, later on their blood pressure has changed with it. And so I saw that with myself that my blood pressure went up. So I’m after coat, add COVID. So exercise helps to lower that blood pressure, weight, helps get that down helps with that. Like I said, some things are just genetic, that you can’t help, but if people will understand that with blood pressure, there is a lot of issues. It can lead to stroke. It can lead to heart disease. It can lead to lots of other problems, so keeping that under control is very, very important.
Jeremy Kellett 11:11
We’ll have that, guys come in, “well, I’ve never had a problem with it.” Well, have you checked it regularly? Because I’m gonna say no, people don’t check it regularly. No reason I say this dark, because I just recently started doing that because I’d gone to the doctor a couple times, but that’s the only time it was taken, is when I’d go to the doctor, and I’d wet and feeling good or something. And, and you go, it was high, but I hadn’t been taken it. So I actually bought a blood pressure machine and started logging it. I could give something I knew myself and I could give some to the doctor. Here’s what my blood pressure has been doing. I don’t think many people—I mean, I may be wrong—but I don’t think many people log their blood pressure numbers every day or every other day like they should and they come in, and then all of a sudden, it’s high. What are the blood pressure— Real quick. I don’t want to get way off on blood pressure, but what’s the numbers got to be?
Dr. Steven Bennett 12:08
You need to be under 140 and under 90. So 140 over 90 be under that’s where we want to be under in order not to have to be maybe on a blood pressure medication or things like that. So okay. The misnomer out there is if somebody has high blood pressure, that it’s gonna stop them from driving. It does not, it just changes the time we can give somebody unless that blood pressure is way high. Like if you’re up 180 over 120. Yeah, we got to disqualify you temporarily, until you bring it under control. We had that happen to a driver not long ago, his blood pressure was too high for me to give it to him. So what happened, I said, go to your primary care, let’s get this thing give you medication, things like that, let’s get it under control, where we can at least give you a time period, three months or so.
Jeremy Kellett 13:01
I know who you’re talking about. That was Bobby. He’s a success story, actually, because he came back and he was originally mad because blood pressure was high. You couldn’t give him a physical and then he went home saw his doctor, he called me and he’s called me two or three times thanking me, thanking us for helping him because now this is a priority to him. He started walking water twice every day. He was got it down real low. And he just come back last week, I think took him three or four weeks to get it like he wanted. But he realized after the fact that something needed to be done, and thank goodness he got it done.
Dr. Steven Bennett 13:42
People get angry all the time, especially us guys. We can get angry about it because we think that we’re indefensible. We’re going to plow through this. And so that’s the thing that happens is that look, the thing I explained to people so much is you want to take care of your health on your time, being able to do it when you need to when you want to, rather than there be an incident like a heart attack, or a stroke, where you have to be off work. Now, you’re not getting paid, you’re not driving. So all of a sudden, life changes dramatically, especially with a stroke, because recovery is so so much more difficult. So what we want to do is we want to help those people and if people drivers would realize that, when the doctors come in, we’re not trying to keep you from driving. We need the truckers out there driving, believe me, we need your services out there. But we want to make sure that you can do that safely. And the thing that’s so important is not to have you have a situation health-wise that takes you out of working and blood pressure can do that because it can lead to these other conditions that are devastating. So we just try when we tell you, Hey, we got to look at this blood pressure a little closer or We got to get you on, do a CPAP, do a sleep study or we’ve got to get you back over to your doctor, check out this the blood in your urine or things like that, that you just take that is this was a warning shot to help you control things. So you can do it on your terms, rather than an incident.
Jeremy Kellett 15:18
That’s a great point. Because that’s the mail in us the DNA in his day, we want to wait for something to happen, then I’m going to address it. Well, that’s not a good plant. That’s not a good plan at all. We need to be proactive and trying to figure out how our healthy is and what we need to do to take care of it. Because we’ve had some instances where guys come in and get physicals. And actually, I don’t know if you have but I know prior to using you with them, find a guy that has some serious problems. And whether it’s out of his blood and urine or problem. He’s like, and then you find out he has some major problems that he’s got to take care of. That’s a really I like that part of— don’t wait till it happens to you. Go ahead and try to prepare to go. Don’t be scared. You don’t want to be in that seat, like, I’m scared to go to get a physical because I’m afraid I’m not going to pass. You need to be in that seat of going, yeah, I’ll take a physical anytime you want me to.
Dr. Steven Bennett 16:18
Yeah, I do. Because if you’ve answered the let me get it done on my terms rather than waiting to there’s an incident that takes me off work. Yeah, where I can’t do that. And that’s what’s so important with this is that you are in control of what happens and we want to keep you driving, but we want you to be safe at that. We I have so many stories of people that have gotten mad, come back later and be happy about what we found. Because other people have confirmed, hey, you’ve got this condition, it’s a good thing, they found this because if not, there would have been more serious. And then I have other people too, that have gotten mad and stayed mad, and then figure out how they try to bypass the situation only for an incident later on to take place.
Jeremy Kellett 17:02
What are some of the common problems or mistakes you see drivers making when they come to take a physical?
Dr. Steven Bennett 17:10
I think the big thing is if they’re taking a physical and they’ve been extremely tired because they’ve been running and going and they’re running and to get a physical and their blood pressure normally might be a little bit low. But now they’ve gone without sleep, they’ve been taking things to stay awake, like caffeine, where they’ve been drinking that and energy drinks and all of that stuff. And then they come in. So they’re tired, they’ve been running, they’ve been going they’ve been taking these energy drinks. Now all of a sudden, their blood pressure’s up a little bit. Okay, and normally it may not be. So get a good night’s rest. Don’t have caffeine to drink of any type, or any nicotine to take in for at least four hours before the physical. Okay, try not to eat. Because when you eat, your body’s blood pressure goes up to the hip digest foods. So try not to eat a couple of hours before you come in. If you do that stuff, drink plenty of water. Try not to eat, try not to smoke or drink caffeine, and have a good night’s sleep beforehand. If you do those things, then you’re going to be set the best you possibly can have a good physical. And if your blood pressure still a little bit high, well, hey, that’s your opportunity to take care of it so you don’t have a situation.
Jeremy Kellett 18:29
Do you run into issues with truck drivers not telling you the whole truth?
Dr. Steven Bennett 18:38
Yes, yes. We get that quite frequently. And sometimes they’ll do questions and things that will ask and things to that nature in their history, things start to come out. And they filled out their history form. And this is really important for drivers. Because if you fill out your history form, just be honest about it. Because here’s where it bites, drivers big time. If there should be an accident may not even be their fault. But they go back and they investigate everything and look into it. They’re going to look into your physicals, they’re gonna look into what your was your health. And if they find something on there, that you were not forthright about telling. And it could be little thing that really didn’t matter that much like a past surgery. But if they find that then they put into question everything else that you said, Yeah, you’re a liar. You’re a liar. Yeah. So in especially if, for instance, it was your fault. They’re really come and dig in for anything then. And so we’ve had people that’s not listed that they were on medications we’ve had people list that they didn’t have a big one is that they didn’t have a CPAP because they bought on a CPAP that they had not had a sleep study when they had had a sleep study. Okay, but the sleep study may have shown that they did not need Need a CPAP? But because they didn’t need one, they said, No, I haven’t had a sleep state No, just put it down, hey, I had to sleep study, we may want to get a copy of it to see so we can put on our records, but that just helps you. And so all of those things just being forthright about it being right upfront. That helps. Because when you are guess what, your blood pressure doesn’t go up as high either. You’re out. Okay? Yeah, when you’re lying about stuff, it tends to raise your blood pressure and stuff.
Jeremy Kellett 20:29
I know they fill out that form of checking everything that applies to them. And they’re afraid of circling that little circle because he’s going to ask me about that. And yet, that could be a problem. But you got to tell the truth. This is the and I think this is some, you got to remember, this is federal, this is the FMCSA. I mean, you’re dealing with some federal regulations that have got to be accurate.
Dr. Steven Bennett 20:58
You can lose your CDL if you’re caught lying on that thing. If there’s been an incident, and especially if that led to a problem. Okay, so I’ve got a situation where a guy was diabetic and we started doing a company’s physicals because of this, he had gone to the doctor did not do an A one C test on him. If you’re diabetic, then expect the doctor should do in a onesie that test how your blood sugar has been for the last 90 days is controlled. Well, not. They did not do that. And the reason they didn’t do that is because the guy lied about being diabetic. Okay. So when he lied about being diabetic, then they didn’t do they went see. So when they didn’t do any of that stuff, it just things just keep happening, while the guys driving. Forte was it was a pickup truck. They weren’t a big tractor-trailer, it was a pickup truck, but they had a trailer and loaded with equipment, stuff on it. So it was heavy. But the truck had a GPS unit on it. And the company noticed that he would slow down speed up, slow down speed up. And they were no one ever called him or anything. And it wound up that the guy was diabetic. He had a is sugar levels plummeted, went into a diabetic coma with the think crossed off the freeway through the median onto the other side, hit five cars killed two people. And the company told me they said, we’d never had an incident like this. But what happened was, was just a circumstance of events that took place. And then we’ve had other ones. That was the very tragic one. But we’ve had other ones where come where somebody would not tell us the truth about things. And they didn’t they didn’t tell the last Doctor either. So you have to dig into these things. And sometimes it’s been the doctor’s fault. One thing we’ve run into with companies is they’ll say, Well, the last place we was having these physicals didn’t do that. Or they didn’t tell us this, they didn’t tell us I said look, we follow the regulation, you got a little let from Oakley, we got a little bit we did. But we get it from everybody because there are doctors out there that really don’t take this very seriously. And we have numerous drivers tell us well, this most thorough physical we’ve ever had with this. And the good thing with that is because a lot of times, this is the only physical that driver is going to get all year, we may be the only doctor that driver sees all year. So if we wind up doing one of these physicals, and we find something and we can help that driver, and we help save them from having more health issues, then that’s a good job that we’ve done. And sometimes they do get upset with us. But the good thing is, we also have those people that come back and thank us after they’ve gotten upset with us. But what’s really tough is when it’s the first physical for a new company, and it just went crazy bad, okay, because the person had lots of lots of issues, and we’ve had that happen too. And sometimes we the company is very glad that we found it. And then other times, they hadn’t been real glad because all of a sudden, we’re having their driver have to jump through some hoops to continue to drive. The important thing is we want to keep you driving, but we need to follow these so that we can do it safely.
Jeremy Kellett 24:34
Yeah, and that’s the ultimate reason behind it all. You got to be a safe safest driver just because we are under the scrutiny of the FMCSA we got rules to follow. You got to protect yourself the best you can and that’s one thing about Oakley. We have constantly been always tried to find a good doctor to give good physicals to make sure that we know everything We can about that CDL driver where he can be, we can be confident that he’s out there running safely because he’s run around or Oakley liability insurance. And you know how those judgments are these days, if we’re found guilty, well, we’re guilty till proven innocent these days when it comes to truck driving. We all got to work together on that. It’s not any way of targeting the driver, we’re trying to help that situation and make sure he is a safe driver and operating with a safe company, and you got to have the safe, you got over the doctor to has that same mentality in mind, because we’re all in it together.
Dr. Steven Bennett 25:47
When it comes to the drivers and being safe out there. Most of the time, what happens is, is that the when the driver comes in to me, and they’ve got some type of issue, most of the time they realize that, hey, there may be little something going on. But sometimes they don’t. And so when we can find these issues and correct them and get them back doing stuff, then they stay out there they stay driving and in as the drivers. If you can think about one thing when you fill out these forms to get your DLT physical. Do you want to risk losing your CDL? Because you lied on the form, and then you had in an accident, they investigate, find that you did. And then you’re not driving at all with it. So just look at it like that, there are very few things that actually stop you from driving, very few. Most of them are things that will just change the timespan till you can get it under control. So a lot of people make the mistake. I’ve had drivers tell me that when they had high blood pressure, and they haven’t had it before that they think that’s going to take them off of driving, or they need a sleep study. Well, I can’t drive to get the sleep study. Yes, you can. We can give you time for all of that stuff.
Jeremy Kellett 27:04
Most of them know, hey, I’m in bad shape, I’m going to the doctor, this could not go good. So any avenue I get here to make me look better, I better do it. Because I’ve got to have my CDL I just bought this truck, I got a truck payment. I’ve got I just quit a company job. I’m already making a big step here. I got this got to work, I gotta make this work. And you get some of that where they’re worried about it but, like you said, everything we’ve run into, I don’t think you’ve disqualified anybody with us they had that have not come back and fixed it and went to drive it. It’s like you said it’s, most of the things are fixable.
Dr. Steven Bennett 27:48
They are they’re fixable. And I tell you one thing with drivers too, if you can, as a driver, if you’re gonna do one thing, make sure that if you’re on blood pressure medication, if you’re on diabetic medication, that you are taking that as prescribed, because that right there, I’ve had numerous drivers that said, Yes, their medication, they’re on medication, but they haven’t been taking it like they’re supposed to. And then that affects them. And so that type of stuff will limit your time because all of a sudden your blood pressure’s high. So take your medication, that’s a good thing to do. When you’re coming in, stay regular on that. If you’re on a CPAP, bring in your CPAP report, that’s gonna save you time for the last 90 days. Because if you bring in 90 days, I can give you the full time on it. But if you don’t, then we’re going to have to wait put your determination pending well, and if you’re on one, you better be using it. Yes, you got to be using it. Well, it’s that time 70% or 70%, you gotta use it 70% of the time greater than four hours a night when you’re using it. So the thing that happens if you don’t use it, the federal guidelines are really tough on that because they had such a problem at one point with daytime sleepiness with people that if you are not compliant, the guidelines make you jump through lots of hoops with this thing. For instance, we’ve had drivers that were not compliant. Well, I’ll tell them sit according to the federal guidelines. Now they say you have to show compliance, they want to make sure you’re doing it. So they only allow us to give them 30 days then for physical before they have to come back and show 30 Day compliance, then they make us say, Now you gotta show 60 Day compliance. So now they come back and 60 more days. Then they say now you gotta show us nanny day compliance. Show that 90 days, then they say now that you’ve shown 90 days now then we can give you a year if you’re on a CPAP but all of a sudden, they’ve had three physicals that they wouldn’t have had to do.
Jeremy Kellett 29:53
So are you targeting people? I say that like it’s mean or something. But sleep apnea and making them use a CPAP—let me put you on the spot here—does the FMCSA send out an email and say, hey, you need to be targeting?
Dr. Steven Bennett 30:14
No, they don’t. They don’t do that they don’t. They don’t target that at all the thing that happens with it, I tell you what happened back about 2016, that the FMCSA came out with this guideline that was so poor, their number one thing to determine if you needed a CPAP or not was the size of your neck. Okay, if you got greater than 17-inch neck may need to see pap, they said, Okay, that was the most ridiculous thing that I’ve ever heard of in my life. And we and there was such pushback from the doctors, especially on that. And even the carrier’s themselves, that they finally came up with more of a guideline. So now there are multiple factors that come into play some of these factors of whether you may need a CPAP or not, or even need to sleep study, the one thing that they say now, if you’re BMI, that your height to weight ratio. So if you’re 510 330 pounds, your BMI is going to be higher, right around 46, where if you’re 40 or greater, they see they say you need a sleep study to show whether or not you truly have sleep apnea. Now, I’ve had numerous big guys, numerous of them, that did not have to have a CPAP. So sometimes people did have to do the study, they did the study, okay. And it came back that they were very low, they would say that most people is going to be even if you do a sleep study, you’ll wind up showing mild sleep apnea, okay, a few event, that does not mean you need a CPAP until you get up over about it anywhere from 10 events in an hour, mild events that in an hour, and this comes back on the report that we get, you don’t need to CPAP Okay, 10 to 1510 to 14, then it’s kind of like one of those marginal things, we look at lots of different factors there to see if we recommend that. But if you get where you’re over 15 events in an hour, then you definitely need a CPAP then, but I’ve actually taken people off the sea perhaps. Yeah, so then people I don’t think if you’re on a medication, you’re never gonna get off. Or if you’re on a CPAP you’re never gonna get off. Yeah, you can. We’ve had people that’s lost weight exercise got in shape. We did another sleep study on him, we have to have objective proof that you don’t need it. So we didn’t know the sleep study. Lo and behold, now their sleep study shows that they have very little sleep apnea event. And so they don’t have to be. But here’s the ironic thing. The people that need one, if they get on one, even if they go into fighting and screaming, and I had one yesterday, that absolutely did not want to be on a CPAP. I mean, even said, I don’t want to be on one, it’ll cause cancer. There’s nothing out there that says that it’s going to cause cancer being on a CPAP. It’s just blowing air and you to keep your airways open so that you can breathe good. That’s all it does. But I’ve had so many people come back later on that said, Oh my gosh, I’m sleeping so much better, I feel rested. I feel like I got energy now. Yeah. And so they don’t know. And this is even people that are patients of mine. It’s not drivers that we also do sleep studies. But here’s the great thing, when you do a sleep study now used to you had to go to a sleep clinic, you don’t have to do that. Now you can do the sleep studies at home, we use a company that we send the information to, they wind up doing sending the getting hold of the driver, they send them a device that they attach to them to use one night sleeping, they take that device, send it back into the company, and they read it by sleep doctor reads that to see whether or not they need to be on a CPAP. So you can do it at home, you could do it even on the road.
Jeremy Kellett 34:15
What’s that cost?
Dr. Steven Bennett 34:17
Jeremy Kellett 34:18
Oh, okay. A lot cheaper. When I first come out, it was 1,000s.
Dr. Steven Bennett 34:23
You could spend three to $5,000 for a sleep study. So 250 is very reasonable to do that. And so we have a company that we use like that. They take care of it. And I’ve had drivers say well, I know you doctors get a kickback from these companies. No, we don’t make a dime from the companies that do this for us. And we could have them we can have those same devices in our office and we could sell them ourselves instead. I’ve just never done that with it because I just let somebody else handle all that stuff because it’s Something else that needs attention. And they can take care of it with people. So if you, if you’ve had a doctor recommend that you get a sleep study, don’t put it off, because you may not need a CPAP. But if you do, it can literally change your life. Here’s the something you need to know out there. If you wind up, going through life with sleep apnea, it deprives your organs of oxygen in the research shows it actually takes three to five years off your life. So because it wears on your organ system.
Jeremy Kellett 35:32
I’m a testimony to that. A few years ago, I had to get it done, and was so glad I did because I feel so much better. I can’t go without the thing now. That’s the first thing I pack if I’m going somewhere overnight, that one, right there is not and I’ll be turning around, going back home and getting it because it works and it’s helped me so much. And over the last couple of years for sure. I think great stuff, talking to Dr. Bennett here on the Oakley podcast and talking about physicals and all kinds of good stuff and how you prepare for them and what the consequences are. And it’s all it’s good stuff. We got a few more things we want to cover. But first let’s take a break and hear from our sponsor, LubeZone.
LubeZone has been a sponsor the Oakley podcast for a long time. They have good people over there. Jeff and Megan do a great job and they provide good discounts for Oakley owner-operators, but it’s also just a great place to go. They’ve got 11 locations in Texas, California, Oklahoma, and Georgia. They’re primarily along major highway exits, which allows easy access. They can do a lot of stuff there. They got full-service oil changes like tractor and trailer grease, air filters, all analysis tire checks, DOT inspections, these guys can do it all and we love doing business with them.
One of our owner-operators went to LubeZone, he said, “Hey, I’m going in here and I going to find out how their service is, if they’re fast and if I get a discount.” I said, “Alright, you let me know when you get out of there.” So he called me back and he said, “I just want you to know that’s a great place to go. It’s clean. It’s nice. The service was great.” He got the full-fledged filters, oil change, the whole nine yards service and he also got his $40 discount. You got to tell them you heard it on the Oakley podcast, that you are with Oakley Trucking, and they will give you a discount.
Just great service from those guys. We appreciate them being a sponsor of the Oakley podcast. If you’re in one of those areas, you go to LubeZone.com and you see where their locations are, and if you’re close by there, go try them out and let me know how your service was because we’ll give the feedback back to LubeZone. And check out the rewards program. That’s really good, too. Just be sure to check them out and let them know you heard it on the Oakley podcast.
We’re seeing more and more of the heart issues. We see a lot of guys with stints or, what do you call it? Cardiac…
Dr. Steven Bennett 38:03
Cardiac problems. There are tons of different ones that you can have.
Jeremy Kellett 38:08
We always as a recruiter were when we got our list, we go down, you had any surgeries, you had any heart problems, you had anything like this, we just need to know. And then you got to bring paperwork in and that helps, I guess, to tell you everything because you got to require it.
Dr. Steven Bennett 38:27
It does. The heart problems that are out there, with stints, do not keep you from driving. There’s a short little wait period of a couple of weeks or so after you’ve had a stent. If you’ve had a bypass surgery, longer wait period.
Jeremy Kellett 38:43
Okay, if I just had a stent put in, I got a couple of weeks.
Dr. Steven Bennett 38:48
A couple weeks wait period to make sure everything’s okay and stuff. But you could have few months wait period with a bypass surgery, okay. And if you’ve had a stroke, stroke, physical exam is going to be the main thing with that is, if you’ve got paralysis on one side of your body, you’re not really going to be able to operate a truck.
Jeremy Kellett 39:10
But say I did have a stroke and I’m okay. What paperwork I need to do?
Dr. Steven Bennett 39:16
Then what we’ll do is we’ll get a clearance letter, we have specific things that the FMCSA says, hey, this person needs to be able to do this. So we will get a clearance letter from your neurologist, saying that aid II can do this. We have the letters already ready. Everything else, we just put the doctors’ names on them, send them to him, we fax it to them, and then we have them sign off on it and send it back to us. Okay, if they will not sign off because we have that every now and then where they will not sign off because the person is on a certain medication or their own. They’ve had a certain condition and they may not have been seen by that doctor in several months or maybe even a year. And so in those situations, we’ll have them go back in and see the doctor so that they can update their records. Because there are certain heart conditions that you’re also going to need to do every couple of years do a stress test for, okay to make sure that your heart is functioning like it needs to. Know that people can call us, and we can tell them ahead of time what they need to do, but if you can, a lot of times getting those just bringing the doctor’s information with you, because a doctor just saying, Hey, he’s cleared to go back to work isn’t enough because they do not know.
Jeremy Kellett 40:39
That’s what I was just fixing to ask you because I’ve run into that where a driver says, hey, my doctor, cardiologist cleared me to go back to work. They can’t clear you to do to drive a truck. Is that right?
Dr. Steven Bennett 40:53
That’s right. Commercial truck is different. Just like if you’re flying an airplane or other things, there are certain federal requirements that need to be met. And usually, it’s not a problem. So we just fax over to that doctor, that cardiologist exactly what those guidelines are in the letter, and they just sign off on that. So a person would be determination pending to we get that letter back. But the thing was determination pending, a lot of times people still have some time on their card, when they come in to see us, they’re not down to the last day. So if you’re not down to the last day, then you still got time, you can keep driving. And then once the we get the letter back, which usually is within 72 hours that we’ll get back, sometimes it takes a little bit longer. And then those cases where they just have to see that doctor again. And we let them know that the doctor will not sign off on this until you go back in. Because you haven’t been in in a year. Yeah. And they want to see you to say that you’re still okay. So the doctors do not know what these qualifications are by any means.
Jeremy Kellett 41:53
Yeah, they may clear you to go back to work, general work, but you can’t go back to driving a truck until you get checked out by a doctor that’s in the registry, which so we talked about in the beginning.
Dr. Steven Bennett 42:06
Right. Just like flying an airplane. You don’t want the guy flying the plane, just to be his doctor. So you can go back to work. There are federal guidelines to be able to fly that plane, and you want to make sure that that person is safe enough to be up there doing that.
Jeremy Kellett 42:23
You want make sure Mike Tyson is not a passenger.
Dr. Steven Bennett 42:25
That’s right. I heard about that.
Jeremy Kellett 42:28
I did, too. I don’t know where that came from.
Dr. Steven Bennett 42:31
if he is a passenger, don’t antagonize don’t bother him. Don’t get drunk on the plane and antagonize him. After you’ve been doing selfies earlier with him, yeah, it’d be at all friendly and everything. Yeah, not a good thing.
Jeremy Kellett 42:46
That’s a good story. One other thing I know is all over the board, though, is medications. We have had a couple of instances where guys come in and they just taking something over the weekend are they I don’t know specifically what it was, but it might have been for pain or for headaches or something. And it doesn’t necessarily delay a physical but what it’s been doing is delaying a drug test result.
Dr. Steven Bennett 43:15
Depends on what medication they took. Here’s the primary thing they got to be careful with. They will take someone else’s medication. Okay, their wife, their friend, has a medication says Oh, take one of these pain pills. Okay. But it happens to be yes, something that’s a narcotic. Okay, wasn’t there a script that’s going to show up in your drug test? Yeah. Okay. So that’s going to give you problems. Now, if somebody’s taking a narcotic for specific reason, they can still drive, they can still be functional. A lot of people are in even with a drug test. If they’ve got a prescription for it. They’re being monitored, that they’re taking this correctly, and they’re using it as they’re supposed to, then that doesn’t prevent them from driving. So not all pain meds are going to.
Jeremy Kellett 44:06
What are some of the medications that you have trouble with? If a guy comes in says I’m taking someone’s Oh, is that borderline that you have to?
Dr. Steven Bennett 44:15
Well, you have to look at pain medications on how it affects them because we’re gonna have to get a clearance letter from the doctor on how that’s affecting them. The other thing is, if they’re on a depression medication, okay, we want to make sure that they’re not having bad depression events when they’re driving a truck. So head on there on that app, where we have to get a clearance letter from their doctor saying that, hey, here’s what this guy does. Here’s what this lady does. She drives his big 36,000-pound vehicle down the road, going 70 miles an hour. Are they stable enough? Where they’re not going to have these manic depressive events? They’re bipolar. Are they stable on their medication when they’re not going to have one of these effects? Because we have a lot of people that had the tone medication for anxiety, depression, other things, it’s been there, it’s well-controlled, they do and just fine. And they can be on that. But we want their doctor to say, look at it and say, Yes, they’ve been stable. They’ve been doing good. So now we can clear them based upon this criteria from FMCSA.
Jeremy Kellett 45:22
Things like that come into play all the time. And he just weak, they got to be diligent about it, and make sure they’re doing things right. Because I think that’s a big point of their doctor, telling them one thing is not the same as a doctor that gives DLT physicals. Right, they might, because they don’t know the rules unless they are registered to do it.
Dr. Steven Bennett 45:43
Yeah, they don’t know the criteria for it. So we provide that for them. And that helps us speed this along to get that driver certified, if at all possible. And rarely do we have it where a driver cannot get certified. From there, by the doctor signing a clearance letter. Most of the time, if there’s an issue, it just simply go back in. So the doctor can update their records, which is reasonable because they’re putting their name on there saying, Hey, we think that they can do this. So that’s reasonable, used to things like insulin wouldn’t let us certify driver but now that’s changed. So now we can certify drivers that are on insulin, there’s just a form that their prescribing physician has to fill out concerning their insulin use.
Jeremy Kellett 46:29
And what else? You mentioned to me earlier they changed the eyesight rule.
Dr. Steven Bennett 46:34
The eyesight rule, if somebody you have to have a vision of at least 2040 to pass the eyesight test. So let’s say somebody’s 2050 2060 in the past that would disqualify them from driving, they would have to go through a federal vision exemption program took about six months to do that, in order to be able to drive. Now they changed that as of March 22 of this year, the vision exemption has gone away that no longer is there, you can’t get a federal vision exemption. If you have an ad that you can’t see well out of it all. Hardly you can get it you go to an optometrist or an ophthalmologist, an eye doctor, they there’s a very specific exam that they do, we have the form, give it to the driver ahead of time, go in and get this before you do your physical that way you don’t get on determination pending, okay, you get it all done ahead of time. If you’re diabetic you and you’ve had an A one C to A you, if you’ve had an A one C test in the last 90 days, bring it in, we don’t have to redo it. So let’s just good things to help the driver. But the if they are diabetic, we can get that done. And if on the vision test, you get that done by the ophthalmologist. And now then if everything looks okay with that good eye, what they found in the reason they changed this is they had people on the vision exemption, and they did some research and studies and found that these drivers that were on the vision exemption, were actually very safe drivers. So what they did then, so they decided that hey, we could probably go ahead and change this, as long as they can pass. This other exam really can change this, but it was all based upon research that they decided to do this used to if people were on Chantix medication, quit smoking, because it could mess with them and have them have all sorts of delirious side effects and stuff. They didn’t want them to people be driving but they found that that was very, very unlikely to happen was so rare that they changed it and said now you can be on Chantix and still drive. So the number of medications that people are on Cesar seizure medications is the big thing. If you had seizures, you’re not likely going to be able to drive Oh really? Yeah, you’re gonna have to go through an extended period of time of being seizure-free and not requiring seizure medication. So seizures is the big one that really cuts people out things if they get such a bad heart that they can’t their ejection fraction how much their blood their heart will pump out. Is that didn’t they is if you got a defibrillator you can’t drive now that but you have pacemaker you can guess yeah, they don’t that oh defibrillator going off during with open drive somewhere that that will get your team.
Jeremy Kellett 49:35
The big thing is is that we see in the office is the recertifications guys waiting to the last minute to go get their physical updated and I know guys it can be frustrating because it’s due every you may get a one year physical or a two at the most and things get away from you but you gotta be on your game to get this done because what happen If you wait till the last week, you’re trying to work you’re trying to get into the doctor, get the appointment and all that. And then you don’t pass a physical. Well guess what, then like you said, order, now they’re off trying to get this thing handled and get it done. And we have seen that time and time again to where they didn’t, didn’t expect it didn’t do their homework ahead of time to try to be in the best shape they can and I get it, I’m there to it’s hard. It’s hard to make me do it. But there’s a difference. And, and me and then him haven’t dropped for a living, oh, he’s got to get recertified to make that money. And that’s something that we see all the time an officer of gas can’t pass for his Goulet do to get recertified So, and to explain a little bit about, we require anybody coming to work here to go to a physical, bring them over there to you. Because the system is made to where there’s not supposed to happen, all the doctors in the registry, we should be able to every company should be able to accept the physical that they currently have. Problem with that is we see discrepancies with doctors, and we have to take it in our own hands because it’s our liability insurance that’s in our company that’s on the line along with the driver, but we have to feel confident that they’ve gotten a good physical, and are safe drivers. We constantly are finding stuff that the prior doctor didn’t. She mentioned earlier, it’s very frustrating. I wish all the doctors in the registry were on the same page. It’s hard to do.
Dr. Steven Bennett 51:46
The guidelines is there. They’re there, but not everybody keeps up with things. And not everybody does stuff. And then some people get overly aggressive like the 17-inch neck thing. Okay, yeah, 17-inch neck let’s you got to do a seat paps get a sleep study, which is crazy, but they do it. And what you mentioned is so important about the drivers not waiting to the last minute because we’ve had so many people that have come in to us, because we do a lot we do your physicals, but we do for other people and people that just walk in. And my goodness, how many people get down to this is their last day. And if you’ve got anything that delays that, and Murphy’s Law is going to be of all the times this is what happens today that it gets delayed. I tell people, when people come in to us, because we used an electronic system, they should start getting a reminder about a month before their physical, oh, let’s get to their cell phone and stuff. So they, we try to help them in that. So when they get a physical from us, no matter who it is, we try to help them that they’ll be about a month ahead, they’ll get a reminder then a couple of weeks. Again, another reminder, in that last month, if you’ll get your call and get your physical scheduled, even if it’s a couple of weeks out, at least it’s down there, it’s on the books, you’re gonna and then do everything you can and be there for that physical. But at the very least, tried to do your physical habit, least two weeks left on your card. So that if anything is going on 99% on can get solved in that two-week period. It doesn’t stop you from driving.
Jeremy Kellett 53:27
Yeah, that’s great. Great information and advice. Well, I sure appreciate you coming in and going through this stuff with me. I know we went a pretty good ways today, but it’s just good information that is gonna help owner-operators or truck drivers in general, be better be more successful and get that physical check on your health, that that’s always good information. Anything else you’d like to add for week? Well, if Hey, how about this, if they have any questions, they can email me send me an email and then I’ll shoot it to you.
Dr. Steven Bennett 54:03
Be glad to. We’re just here in North Little Rock, Arkansas physical medicine and rehabilitation is the name of our clinic. And we do physicals and we do drug tests and lots of different things. But one of the things if they’ve if you’ve got a question out there, get a hold of Jeremy and let him get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to answer your questions. We do that for them all the time. Because one of the things Jeremy that happened when we first started with you what you just said about well the last place we had do these didn’t tell us this and so I would actually send it over to Vicki lots of times the rule and regulation and guideline were here’s what it says in here. Just to let you guys know that I didn’t make this up, somebody just wasn’t following the guidelines. And so if the drivers out there, just know that, hey, we want you driving. We’re going to do everything to keep you driving as long as we can follow the rules and regulations. And if something slows us down a little bit, remember it’s to help you be able to take care of your health on your time, rather than waiting until a catastrophic event happens that takes you out of driving.
Jeremy Kellett 55:15
Yes, good. Good advice right there. So if you do have questions or for Dr. Bennett, man, email me, he will put my email up on the screen. And that way, I mean, I think come to me, I guess and study. I know you’re busy and got a lot of stuff going on.
Dr. Steven Bennett 55:31
Well, unfortunately, some things wind up in my junk mail. When people go there, so if it goes to you and comes to me, we’ve had enough conversations through email that it won’t go there.
Jeremy Kellett 55:43
Got it. All right. Well ask you appreciate you joining me today and all good information document and I really do use good stuff. So I appreciate everybody. Appreciate everybody watching the Oakley podcast listening to it. Every week, we’ll come out with a new one every Wednesday. So I hope this one helps you and you got any questions? Let me know. Talk to you next week.
Thanks for listening to this episode of the Oakley podcast: trucking, business, and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show on the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience, so if you’ve got a question, comment, or just want to say hello, head over to our website, theoakleypodcast.com, and click the “leave a comment” button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening.