Commercial carriers and companies that operate semi-trucks will soon be subject to new rules for drug and alcohol testing for their drivers.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is ready to publish a new rule regarding a central database listing the results of truckers’ drug and alcohol screenings. Under the new rule, carrier companies will now be required to conduct annual searches of their drivers to determine if they have failed a recent drug or alcohol screening. Commercial carriers must be in full compliance with the rule by 2020.
The database, which is called the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, will be overseen by the FMCSA, along with a private company. The rule was prompted by a highway funding bill passed by Congress in 2012 and is aimed at reducing instances in which a semi-truck driver evades punishment for failing a drug or alcohol test by simply switching jobs and not telling his or her new employer. Lawmakers also hope the new rule will stop semi-truck drivers from refusing to cooperate with return-to-duty procedures for getting back to work after failing a substance abuse screening.
Under FMCSA return-to-duty rules, commercial drivers who fail a drug or alcohol test must comply with specific steps and protocols before they can return to driving a truck.
The new rule will create an enduring record of failed drug tests that follows a truck driver from job to job, regardless of which state he or she moves to. Carrier companies will also be required to check the database as part of their pre-employment procedures.
Drug Abuse and Truck Accidents
Weighing in at a max of 80,000 pounds, semi-trucks are dangerous in the hands of an impaired truck driver. Philadelphia truck accident lawyer explains, “It takes these massive vehicles the equivalent of two football fields to stop. A truck driver who is high or intoxicated has impaired reflexes and a delayed reaction time. In a semi-truck, even a few seconds of inattention can cause a devastating accident.”
Studies have found that drug use is a serious problem among truck drivers. One study showed that about half of semi-truck drivers surveyed admitted to drinking and driving, and 30 percent said they use amphetamines on the road. Because long-haul truck drivers often pull long shifts that require them to stay up for lengthy periods of time, many rely on stimulants to help them stay awake. These drugs can lead to impairment that makes a semi-truck driver a danger to everyone on the road.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, call Philadelphia and New Jersey truck accident lawyer Rand Spear today at 888-373-4LAW today to discuss your case with an experienced truck accident attorney.