Road accidents are an unfortunate but inevitable part of life. Every single day, it seems there is an accident that results in injuries, property damage and even fatalities. Many of these incidents involve trucks and drivers who are impaired while behind the wheel. In addition, 44 percent of fatalities stemming from road accidents involve a driver who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A Texas truck accident attorney can help victims to start a personal injury claim if they are left with injuries after such a devastating accident.
Truck Drivers and Substance Abuse
In a scary statistic, a study that was performed recently showed that 12.5 percent of truck drivers have tested positive for substance abuse, notably alcoholism. Additionally, 8 percent of truckers only a few short years ago was revealed as having abused amphetamines. This type of substance abuse was probably due to the long, arduous hours truck drivers are required to work while driving for long distances. However, it is also believed that the number of higher due to a number of factors, including cheating on drug tests and trucking companies hiring employees without performing background checks or drug testing.
What are the Laws Presiding Over Truckers and Truck Companies?
In Texas and the rest of the United States, truck drivers are in a different class in terms of their driving. The legal alcohol limit for a regular driver who is at least 21 years old is 0.08 percent throughout the country. However, for truck drivers who hold a commercial license, the legal limit is 0.04, which means if they are pulled over by a police officer and given a breathalyzer test and their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above that number, they can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). As a result of these special standards, trucking companies are required to perform a full screening of both potential and current employees, which includes drug and alcohol testing.
Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a policy stating that truckers cannot consume alcohol within four hours of shifts. It also requires the following of trucking companies:
- They must provide educational materials
- An established drug and alcohol company policy
- Obtain permission forms that must be signed
- Enlist a person within the company to run a drug and alcohol program
- Know which employees should be tested for drugs and alcohol
- Train supervisors to perform screenings when needed
- Know what procedures to take when an employee tests positive for substance abuse
- Have a contract with a drug and alcohol collection service and medical review officer
Drug and Alcohol Testing for Truck Drivers
Truckers are required to have random tests for drugs and alcohol. When a trucking company has a reason to suspect any of its drivers, they are legally able to give these tests to those drivers. In most cases, there is evidence of a problem due to the individual’s conduct. If any driver refuses to submit to drug and alcohol testing, they can be suspended from driving.
This testing of truck drivers is so important because of the potential extreme danger the drivers pose while under the influence on the roads. Large commercial trucks are much bigger than other vehicles and often carry hazardous materials that can be deadly in the event of a crash. The trucks themselves can pose a much higher level of danger due to their massive size and serious injuries and fatalities if they are involved in an accident.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a large truck, call our law offices today at any of our convenient locations and get a free consultation with a truck accident attorney.
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