Sharing the road with large trucks can be extremely dangerous, as I have written about in a number of previous blog posts. Fatigued truck drivers and those who drive under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol have been a leading cause of car accidents involving large semi-trucks and motorist fatalities. Luckily, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has in place numerous required safety regulations aimed at limiting unsafe truck driving practices. These rules include maximum driving hours that a truck driver may be on the road for without resting and strict drug/alcohol testing procedures.
For the past three (3) years, the FMCSA has been cracking down on its enforcement of drug and alcohol testing. This was due to the fact that since 2013, there was an overall increase nationwide in the number of intoxicated truck drivers on the road. Accordingly, the FMCSA required that at least 50% of the average number of drivers working for any trucking company be randomly drug and alcohol tested throughout the year.
However, the most recent statistics show that as a result of the FMCSA crackdown, there has been a decrease in the number of intoxicated truck drivers on the road. In response, the new 2016 FMCSA regulations only require that 25% of the average number of drivers undergo random drug and alcohol screening. Though the requirements have been reduced by half, this is still 15% greater than the lowest minimum requirement possible – 10% of the average number of truck driver positions.
Despite the new decrease in mandatory drug and alcohol screening requirements, these are just minimum standards established by the FMCSA. In addition to the fact that employers of truck drivers can voluntarily impose more frequent random drug and alcohol testing of its drivers (and often times do), there are a number of situations in which the FMCSA regulations mandate drug and alcohol testing. These situations include when truck drivers are involved in accidents that cause the death or serious bodily injury of another. Employers may also require drug testing of any driver who appears to be intoxicated or is acting strangely or suspiciously.
While we all hope that every driver on the road remains drug and alcohol free while driving, it is always best to practice defensive driving skills and be cautious when sharing the road – particularly with large semi-trucks and commercial vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a collision with a large truck, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away. The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Murphy & Garner, LLC can help you and your family recover after an accident by working to get you the compensation you deserve.