FMCSA Database may Reduce Truck Driver DUI
Though commercial truck drivers should all know just how incredibly dangerous it is to get behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle after drinking alcohol or using drugs, sadly this knowledge does not deter every truck driver from driving under the influence (DUI). Drugs and alcohol unfortunately permeate the truck driver culture, which therefore increase the risk of accidents and injuries caused by DUI.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)1 already enforces strict regulations regarding DUI and drug and alcohol testing, however in recent months has proposed a new tool that may decrease truck driver DUI and improve safety for all other motorists on the road.
Truck Driver Culture and DUI
There is no law that says a truck driver can never drink alcohol, and many drivers enjoy a beer together during their overnight breaks at truck stops. Unfortunately, many drivers who may enjoy a few drinks on their time off may push the envelope and drink too close to a shift or even drink while in the cab of their truck. Some drivers may continue drinking alcohol to pass the lonely, monotonous hours of a long driving shift. However, using alcohol as a source of entertainment or coping mechanism behind the wheel can result in severe injuries and fatalities to other motorists.
In addition to alcohol, drugs also play a substantial role in trucking culture. Studies in recent years2 demonstrate that truck drivers commonly use many drugs, including:
- • Marijuana
- • Cocaine
- • Opiates/painkillers
- • Phencyclidine (PCP)
- • Methamphetamine’s
- • Other stimulants
- • Other prescription drugs (without a valid prescription)
Such drugs are reportedly easily obtainable at truck stops and, whether a truck driver uses them to try to stay awake or to ease loneliness or boredom, can cause driving ability to be seriously impaired.
Commercial Driver Drug and Alcohol Testing
In order to attempt to identify and curb DUI among commercial truck drivers, the FMCSA requires truck drivers to undergo drug or alcohol testing at various times, including:
- • Prior to employment
- • Following an accident
- • At random times according to FMCSA regulations
Even if a driver fails a drug or alcohol test and serves the required suspension, there has not been an easy way for future potential employers to determine if a particular driver had ever previously failed a drug or alcohol test or had refused to be tested in compliance with regulations. This allowed drivers with prior drug or alcohol issues to find new employment and return to the roads more easily, as many companies may opt to not hire a driver with DUI problems in the past to avoid liability.
New Database Proposed
Earlier in 2014, the FMCSA issued a proposal3 to create a database that would identify commercial truck drivers who had previously failed an alcohol or drug test or refused to comply with testing. Through the database, potential employers would be able to check if a prospective driver had a history of failed tests. With this information, the company may decline to hire the driver and may thereby reduce the number of substance abusing truck drivers on the roads. In this manner, the FMCSA believes that the drug and alcohol database would reduce the number of DUI-related accidents, injuries, and fatalities that occur each year.
Contact an experienced truck accident attorney for a free consultation today
If you have been the victim of a truck accident caused by an impaired commercial driver, you deserve to fully recover for all of your accident-related losses and hold the driver liable for his actions. At the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida, we understand the complicated nature of truck accident cases and know how to get accident victims just compensation for all of their injuries and other losses. Please do not hesitate to call our office at 727-451-6900 to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756