Substance test part of hiring process for commercial drivers

Information on traffic accidents and deaths is collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency itemizes information about accidents in a variety of ways that highlights some of the biggest dangers. It is no surprise that accidents involving drunk drivers or large trucks pose serious risks to Southern California residents.

The NHTSA data from 2012 indicates that statewide, roughly 37 percent of all vehicular fatalities happened in either large truck accidents or drunk driving accidents. San Diego County experienced a similar rate with more than 35 percent of all deaths in automobile accidents resulting from crashes with either truck drivers or impaired drivers.

What can be done?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has decided to target the issues related to drunk or drugged commercial drivers head on with new regulations governing the hiring of new drivers as well as allowing drivers with prior impaired driving convictions to return to work.

All truck drivers must pass drug and alcohol tests when being considered for a driving job. Once hired, their employers must review their driving records each year. Drivers that are convicted of DUI or other similar offenses will be required to follow a clearly outlined process before being allowed to drive a commercial vehicle again.

How big is the need?

It only takes a quick search online to see how common instances of impaired driving among commercially licensed drivers cause problems. Following are some recent stories:

  • After being rear-ended by a large truck, a 34-year old man in Pennsylvania died. LehighValleyLive.com reported that the truck driver had a blood alcohol content close to three times the legally allowed limit.
  • A collision involving a flatbed truck and a passenger vehicle sent both drivers to the hospital in Indiana. WSBT.com indicated that the truck driver was found to be under the influence of narcotic drugs at the time of the accident.
  • In Ohio, a commercial truck driver was stopped after being observed driving in a reckless fashion according to the Sandusky Register. The incident marked his third such arrest.
  • A little closer to home, KTLA provided information about a trucker who now faces criminal felony charges for his role in a fatal hit-and-run accident involving alcohol on the freeway.

It is stories such as these that makes it easy to see the dangers that abound and the reason that the FMSCA is strengthening guidelines surrounding impaired driving and commercial drivers.

Take action

Anytime a motor vehicle accident occurs, victims should seek legal input. This can be especially important if commercial trucks or drunk drivers are involved as these situations can be quite complex.