The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a subsidiary of the Department of Transportation, sets regulations for truck drivers and the companies who employ them. While it’s important that every motorist remain alert and focused on the road, it’s especially important for truck drivers. An accident involving a commercial vehicle often involves serious injury or death, so the FMCSA takes driver alertness and sobriety very seriously.
As part of their efforts to promote safety on American roadways, the FMCSA conducts random drug testing on commercial drivers. In 2016 alone, they reported 1,020 drug and alcohol violations during random inspections – and this only represents a portion of drivers operating under the influence on our roads.
The FMSCA also collects data on crashes involving commercial vehicles. Driver error is the most common cause of truck crashes – of those accidents, nearly half (44%) of the drivers had a prescription or over-the-counter drug in their systems at the time of the crash.
Truck drivers often feel the pressure to make timely deliveries and keep to a certain timetable when transporting their goods. While the FMSCA requires mandatory breaks and caps on shifts to minimize inattentive driving, some commercial vehicle operators ignore the rules and rely on substances to keep them going. A commercial truck driver may rely on illicit or prescription drugs to stay alert or work longer shifts. Others may use substances to “pass the time” on a long shift.
Federal regulations require random inspections for truck drivers, testing them for marijuana, cocaine, opioids, PCP, and amphetamines. If a driver tests positive for any of these, they may lose their CDL (commercial driver’s license). Despite these checks, there are drivers on the road who operate large vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A drunk or drugged driver makes our state’s roadways dangerous to navigate. Drugs and alcohol can have the following negative effects on a driver:
These issues aren’t exclusive to illicit drugs. Certain prescriptions can impair a driver’s ability to operate a commercial vehicle. Medications that cause drowsiness, in particular, can be dangerous to others on the road.
In the event of a fatal or serious truck accident, a commercial vehicle driver must to submit to drug testing under federal law. In addition, trucking companies must randomly screen their drivers for drugs and keep detailed records of test results. If a company fails to do so, or it knowingly let a driver who tested positive back onto the roadways, it may be guilty of negligent hiring.
Accidents involving drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol are often serious and can even be fatal, however, most of them are preventable. If your family member incurred serious injury or lost their lives in an accident involving an impaired driver, we can help hold the negligent parties responsible.
The attorneys at Butler Wooten & Peak LLP have a track record of excellence in helping victims of personal injury gain compensation for their injuries. We have a history of obtaining multi-million-dollar settlements for our clients and would like to bring our experience to your case. If you believe an impaired truck driver caused your accident, contact our office for a free initial consultation. Let us provide a confidential review of your legal options and help you decide on your next best steps. Call us at (800) 242-2962 or get in touch with us online. We offer our legal services on a contingency-fee basis for your convenience.