Professional trucking requires skill, training, responsibility, and experience. A semi-truck can weigh upward of 80,000 pounds, so having a responsible, sober driver behind the wheel is essential for the safety of everyone on our nation’s roads. Sadly, some truck drivers disregard the safety of others, resulting in thousands of fatal truck accidents, and tens of thousands of truck accident injuries every year.
The long hours and heavy demands employers place on their drivers can be stressful, and some drivers have been known to abuse intoxicating substances to cope, which can result in impaired driving. A new federal regulation now seeks to combat this problem. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) plans to collect information about drivers who fail or refuse drug tests in a central federal database.
Study Finds High Rate of Drug Abuse Among Truckers
A recent study analyzed the results of 36 surveys of truck drivers across several countries. The goal was to study the rate of substance abuse in the trucking industry. Over half of all professional drivers admitted to driving while under the influence of alcohol, and nearly one-third admitted to taking amphetamines to help them stay awake on the road. Twenty percent admitted to using marijuana, and three percent admitted to using cocaine.
Trucking companies often pressure their drivers with unrealistic delivery times. As a result, many drivers are not taking enough time for breaks to rest or get sufficient sleep. This puts truckers at risk of having a serious crash caused by drowsy driving. Thinking it will help, some drivers rely on stimulants to keep them awake. Many of these products and substances are not safe and may lead to addiction.
Proposed Drug Testing Rule
Although drug and alcohol testing has been mandatory for commercial truckers since the early 1990’s, there has never been a central database to store results. A newly proposed rule aims to change that. The prior rule, part of the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, required employers to test drivers and remove them from duty if they failed or refused to take a test. Many intoxicated drivers have fallen through the cracks of this system, resulting in countless fatalities caused by truck accidents that could have been avoided.
The Department of Transportation plans to issue the new “CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse” rule soon. This rule requires individuals who possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to register with a database. If the driver fails, or refuses to take a drug test, the incident will be recorded with the FMCSA.
Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Represent Victims Injured in Truck Accidents
If you or someone you love has been injured in a trucking accident, we can help you get answers. To learn more about how we can help, call the seasoned Philadelphia truck accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC today at 215-569-8488 or contact us online. With offices located in Philadelphia, Media, and Abington, Pennsylvania, as well as Haddonfield, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the tri-state area.