An impaired driver behind the wheel of a large commercial truck is a serious danger on the road. The result is often a truck accident that can leave victims with severe and life-changing injuries. Recovering financial compensation can be a long and difficult process. Truck drivers deny responsibility and insurance companies try to minimize claims.
Columbus truck accident attorney Scott Smith of Smith Law Office knows the impact an accident caused by an impaired truck driver can have on victims and their families. Medical expenses can become overwhelming and victims may be left with a permanent disability. Victims may not be able to work, putting financial stress on the entire family.
Driving a tractor-trailer or other commercial truck is much more complicated than driving a passenger vehicle. It’s why truck drivers need special training and must qualify for a CDL license. It’s also why there are strict federal regulations about the use of alcohol or drugs, which affect judgment, make it difficult to concentrate and slow reaction time.
Drug and alcohol testing is required for truck drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers to undergo testing. Drivers are tested for blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and also undergo 5-panel testing for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and methamphetamines, and PCP. These regulations apply to any driver who is required to hold a CDL and drive on public roads.
Federal regulations require testing of drivers under the following circumstances:
- Pre-Employment – New drivers must test negative for drugs before they can operate a commercial motor vehicle on a public road.
- Post-Accident – Drivers cited after a truck accident must be tested for alcohol within 8 hours and for drugs within 32 hours.
- Random Testing – Drivers can be subject to a drug test any time, even if they are off-duty. Alcohol testing can only occur if the driver is on-duty, or just before or after.
- Reasonable Suspicion – A DOT-trained supervisor can order a drug or alcohol test if it is suspected that a driver is impaired.
- Return-to-Duty – Testing is required when a driver participates in the return-to-duty process after being found in violation of regulations concerning drug and alcohol use.
- Follow-Up – Follow-up testing for drugs and alcohol is required for drivers during the first 12 months following the return-to-duty test. There may also be follow-up testing for up to 5 years.
A driver who fails a drug test, has a BAC of .04 or more, or refuses a test is not allowed to continue driving a commercial motor vehicle under federal regulations. The driver can begin the return-to-duty process by taking part in a substance abuse program chosen from a list provided by the employer.
Impaired drivers are still a danger on the roads
Despite strict regulations and testing procedures, every year there are truck drivers who drive impaired. And they cause accidents that leave people seriously injured. Proving a driver was impaired is not always straightforward. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced truck accident attorney if you are hurt in a collision.
A lawyer can investigate your accident. We will look for evidence that proves a truck driver was impaired at the time of the collision. We'll then build a strong case to fight back against insurance company attempts to minimize your claim. We can negotiate a settlement that meets your needs – or take your case to court.
If you were injured in a Columbus truck accident caused by an impaired driver, learn more about how an experienced truck attorney can help. Contact Smith Law Office to schedule a free case evaluation.