Truckers: Alcohol and Drug UseBy Stewart J. Guss on December 5th, 2018
We all know that getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not only a terrible idea, but also illegal. This is even truer for truckers, because the sheer size of trucks makes crashes with them far more dangerous than accidents with other vehicles. That’s why truckers must comply with stricter state, federal, and industry standards than other drivers. When they don’t, and their impaired driving causes accidents, tragedy can result.
If an impaired truck driver injured you or someone you care about, you need the dedicated team of truck accidents lawyers and legal professionals at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law. Our legal team never stops fighting for our clients until we secure justice for them! We are here to help, for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-898-4877, or contact us now by CLICKING HERE.
National Trucking Accident Attorney Stewart J. Guss discusses trucking safety on national news with Mike Papantonio on America’s Lawyer
Testing the Limits
Most states implement a 0.04 percent blood alcohol content limit (BAC) for truckers, which is much lower than the 0.08 percent BAC enforced for non-commercial drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in conjunction with the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires strict alcohol and drug testing rules for all commercial truck drivers and their employers:
- Any positive truck driver drug-test result or BAC of 0.04 percent or more (or any testing refusal) necessitates that trucker’s immediate removal from driving a commercial truck. Such drivers must complete a return-to-duty process before being allowed to return to trucking.
- Truck drivers undergo testing for a full spectrum of substances, including marijuana, cocaine, opiates (derivatives of both opium and codeine), amphetamines and methamphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP).
- Truckers are subject to a variety of required tests that include pre-employment, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, random, and return-to-duty.
The size differential alone—between massive semi-trucks and the cars we drive—is enough to warrant heightened safety protocols. The fact that truckers are professional drivers who’re employed by trucking companies who make massive profits off of their labors contributes further to these more stringent safety concerns.
Taking a Closer Look
When it comes to testing truckers for alcohol and drug use, it’s important to take a closer look to understand the ins and outs:
- Pre-employment testing. Before a trucking company can allow a trucker to get on the road, he or she must provide negative test results for drugs usage.
- Post-accident testing. Whenever a trucker is involved in a fatal traffic accident or receives a traffic citation for an accident that results in injury or that disables a vehicle, he or she will undergo testing for both alcohol and drug use. Further, the drug test must occur within 32 hours, and the alcohol test must occur within eight hours.
- Testing for reasonable suspicion. If a supervisor who’s trained by the Department of Transportation detects that a trucker is exhibiting signs of drug or alcohol abuse, he or she can order a drug test. The supervisor must base his or her decision on observations regarding the trucker’s appearance, speech, behavior, and/or body odors.
- Random testing. Truckers can be required to undergo unannounced random testing for drugs and alcohol. Such testing can occur anytime that the truck driver is on duty—or immediately before or after such duty. Once a trucker has received notice that he or she is to report for random testing, the truck driver must immediately report for that testing—to delay doing so can be interpreted as a refusal, which is tantamount to a positive test.
- Return-to-duty testing. If a carrier removes a trucker from duty for drugs and/or alcohol, return-to-duty testing is in order (after completion of the return-to-duty process) before he or she can return to trucking.
- Follow-up testing. If the substance abuse professional (SAP) who signs off on the trucker’s return to duty prescribes follow-up testing, then the truck driver must undergo these extensive tests, which can extend for a maximum of five years.
The repercussions of impaired truck drivers are so extreme that the testing protocols must be similarly stringent. Impaired truck drivers endanger everyone with whom they share the road.
Your Medical Expenses
Truck accidents typically lead to extreme injuries that necessitate exorbitant medical expenses:
- Emergency transportation and treatment
- Surgery and aftercare
- Doctor and specialist care, including psychiatric care
- Follow-up care
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Adaptive physical devices
- Home health care
The ongoing medical expenses associated with a truck accident aren’t easy to calculate—you need an experienced truck accident law firm on your side.
Your Truck Accident Claim
If an impaired truck driver has injured you, you’ve likely suffered immense damages that exorbitant medical expenses only begin to cover. In addition to these costs, you’ll no doubt experience lost hours and wages on the job. Further, if your injuries are severe, you may be looking at a diminished earning potential in the future. Finally, truck accidents are so violent that they often result in extreme emotional and psychological consequences, and unfortunately, these can be the most difficult aftereffects to overcome.
All told, the negative consequences of a truck accident caused by an impaired trucker are difficult to overstate. Your experienced truck accident legal team will endeavor to ensure that your claim adequately represents the totality of your damages.
If an Impaired Truck Driver Injured You, Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm Today
Truck accidents are exceedingly violent and destructive. When an impaired truck driver causes such an accident, it’s that much more difficult to come to terms with. The dedicated legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney at Law, is on your side and here to help. Our experienced truck accident legal team has the commitment and compassion to fight for your claim’s most positive resolution.
Our nationally recognized firm has fought for truck accident victims’ rights for more than 20 years. Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a DIME unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by CLICKING HERE.