The Importance of FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Requirements
Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is a highly dangerous and unlawful behavior for anyone. Commercial truck drivers are held to a higher standard than regular drivers as the vehicles they drive have the potential to cause significantly more extensive damage and injury in the case of a collision. Because of the catastrophic risks of impaired truck drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)1 and Florida state law2 set out harsh penalties for any truck drivers convicted of DUI. In addition, the FMCSA sets requirements for trucking companies to help prevent impaired driving.
Drug and alcohol testing
When a trucking company hires a driver, it should perform a drug test on the driver to ensure they have not recently used any controlled substances. In addition, a company is expected to require its drivers to submit to drug and alcohol testing a random intervals. The test could be as a driver is about to begin a driving shift or as they are ending one. These random tests are important to identify any truck drivers who were planning to drive under the influence or who had just engaged in this dangerous behavior. Furthermore, if an accident occurs, a truck driver should be tested for drugs or alcohol to determine whether impaired driving played a role in causing the collision. If positive, the results of this test are extremely helpful to injured accident victims who are trying to hold the drunk or high driver liable for their losses.
If a driver fails a drug or alcohol test or receives a DUI conviction, a trucking company has the responsibility to appropriately discipline that driver. Such action against them may include suspension from work, mandatory counseling, substance abuse evaluation, substance abuse treatment if necessary, and regular drug and alcohol testing once the driver is reinstated to their position. A company also must recognize the suspension of a driver’s commercial license if applicable.
Company negligence regarding drug and alcohol testing
Just as truck drivers can be held liable for violating the FMCSA rules regarding impaired driving, trucking companies can also be held liable for violating regulations regarding drug and alcohol testing. For example, companies can be found negligent for the following and more:
- Failing to perform a pre-hire drug and alcohol test
- Hiring a driver who failed a pre-hire drug or alcohol test
- Failing to perform the required number of random drug and alcohol tests on existing drivers
- Failing to appropriately discipline drivers who fail random drug or alcohol tests
- Hiring drivers with a history of DUI convictions or known substance abuse issues
If a trucking company acted negligently and allowed a dangerous driver on the road and that driver caused an accident because they were under the influence, the trucking company should be held partially liable for your losses including medical bills, lost income, and much more. Filing a claim against a large company is often a lot more complex than filing a claim against an individual, however. Companies may employ teams of attorneys whose job it is to defend against truck accident lawsuits and who will attempt to limit liability whenever possible. For this reason, you need a skilled Clearwater attorney who understands how to successfully handle truck accident DUI cases.
Find out how an experienced Clearwater truck accident attorney can help you
The team of truck accident attorneys at the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida has helped numerous victims of truck accidents hold impaired drivers fully accountable for their actions. There is no excuse for a commercial truck driver to get behind the wheel of an 80,000 vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When they do, they put the lives of everyone around them in unnecessary danger. If you have sustained serious injuries in a DUI truck accident, you are likely entitled to substantial compensation from the truck driver, trucking company, or both. Our truck accident lawyers understands all the relevant laws in this type of case and work to achieve just compensation for you. Please call our office today at 727-451-6900 to schedule your free consultation with a member of our team.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756