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Proposed FMCSA Rule Aims to Cut Down on Semi-Truck DUI Accidents

Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Mar 05, 2014 in Truck Accidents

Although the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol have been well-document, its no secret that many drivers still choose to do so. However, when an intoxicated truck driver gets behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound vehicle, the results can be catastrophic.

It is important that truck drivers behave responsibly and avoid drug and alcohol use. It is also important for employers to conduct comprehensive background checks on all drivers as the failure to do so could lead to a potentially deadly Texas truck accident. As our experienced truck accident lawyers in Fort Worth know, alcohol and drug use remain one of the top causes of truck accidents in the Lone Star state.

A new proposed rule by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) aims to curb alcohol and drug-related truck accidents by creating a national database of truckers with these types of violations. The rule would require trucking companies to access the database as part of the pre-employment screening process.

According to FleetOwner, the database will track truck drivers in violation of alcohol and drug use regulations which would help determine which drivers are prohibited from operating commercial vehicles after failing to comply with such regulations.

Employers would be able to access positive test results for commercial drivers license holders nationwide as well as drivers who failed or refused mandatory drug testing. Additionally, information on a truck drivers successful completion of a substance-abuse program would also be available.

Currently, the FMCSA federal regulations only requires employers to conduct mandatory pre-employment screenings based on the drivers driving record, which means drivers who failed or refused mandatory testing could still be hired.

The FMCSA says that the privacy of all commercial drivers license holders would remain protected and that drivers would be required to give their consent for employers to access the database. Truckers who refuse to provide the information could still employed, but they may be prohibited from occupying safety-sensitive positions.

Researchers from the American Trucking Associations Policy and Regulatory Affairs believes that the proposed rule could reduce a major loophole which currently allows drivers with a history of substance abuse to jump from one job to the next.

Additionally, officials from the American Trucking Association believe that the database could help employers determine when a job applicant attempts to cover up a failed drug or alcohol test, DUI or involvement in a truck accident.