Truck Driver Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Illegal Truck Driving Practices

The largest vehicles on America’s roads and highways today are commercial motor vehicles. Some of these can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, which necessitates extreme caution when driving these on the road. Those who wish to drive these vehicles must be specially trained with the appropriate licenses. Any driver who is caught by police with drugs in their system or alcohol above the legal limit could have their licenses revoked. The legal limit of intoxication is different for truck drivers than it is for others. For all other drivers of passenger vehicles, the legal limit of intoxication is 0.08 percent while for commercial drivers the limit is 0.04 percent according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Each driver is responsible for telling their employer about a violation within 30 days of conviction. It is then usually up to the employer what happens next. It is typical for employers to have little leniency when it comes to traffic violations. Safety and the driving practices of their employees is a direct reflection upon a company. Also, an increase in accidents and infractions is an increase in liability. This means that it may even cost a company more to insure drivers who have poor driving records. Employers that fail to report their drivers’ traffic violations or employers who continue to hire drivers who have a history of drug and alcohol use while driving may be held partially liable for any accidents that ensue.

Drug & Alcohol Statistics in the Trucking Industry

With the possession of a commercial license, drivers are said to have implied consent when it comes to breath and blood testing for the presence of alcohol and drugs. Any driver who refuses to submit to any of these tests will have their commercial licenses automatically suspended. Increased enforcement has shown a direct decrease in the number of alcohol-related crashes annually. Accidents involving large commercial trucks are serious no matter what the cause, but drug and alcohol impairment make these crashes worse. Statistics suggest that a vehicle being driven under the influence increases the risk of serious crash anywhere from two to six fold.

The Department of Transportation, along with the trucking industry, requires that employers conduct random and planned drug and alcohol testing among their route drivers. This is to ensure quality control and root out any drivers who may be participating in unsafe practices. Although this is required, many companies fail to do so. If you were involved in a truck accident because of an intoxicated driver, not only will the driver be liable, but their employer may also be held accountable for failing to investigate their drivers and conduct random drug and alcohol tests.

There should be serious consequences for intoxicated drivers. If this was the cause of your accident, then you can make sure that the driver and their company is held liable for damages. It is tragic that so many drivers continue to populate our roads despite their poor driving records. Talk to our firm about your case so that a truck accident lawyer can inform you of what you can do. You may be entitled to compensation. Contact Zinda Law Group at 800-863-5312 for more information today.