Drunk driving among commercial drivers target of new program

Connecticut residents should learn about new guidelines that will be instituted by the FMCSA in order to reduce drunk driving among commercial drivers.

In Hartford County alone, 42.25 percent of all vehicular fatalities in 2012 were attributed to either large commercial truck accidents or drunk driving accidents per the statistics collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Statewide, that number is similar with nearly 42 percent of all deaths in automobile accidents resulting from impaired driving accidents or truck accidents.

A deadly combination

Drunk driving and operation of large commercial vehicles such as tractor trailers alone can each pose serious risks to others on the roads. When put together, the dangers only increase.

A quick online search returns many headlines such as the following:

  • In Southern California, KTLA.com covered a fatal hit-and-run accident in which a truck driver now faces multiple criminal charges including felony hit-and-run, felony DUI while operating a commercial vehicle and vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
  • The Midwest CBS affiliate, WSBT.com reported on an accident which sent an 83-year old woman to the hospital after she was hit by a flatbed truck. The driver of the truck is suspected of having been under the influence of narcotic drugs.
  • Ohio's Sandusky Register published a story about a truck driver now facing his third DUI arrest. Upon this latest arrest, the man's blood alcohol level was found to be more than three times the legal limit.
  • In the Northeast, LehighValleyLive.com recounted the death of a 34-year old man after being rear-ended by a tractor-trailer. The truck was being operated by a driver found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.22 percent.

It is in response to stories like these that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is creating a new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to monitor substance use, violations and convictions of all drivers possessing commercial driving licenses.

How will the program work?

The FMCSA is developing a database that will be the central repository for all commercial drivers' records. All drivers must agree to substance testing before being hired for new positions. If drivers wish to not undergo testing, they can still pursue employment with transportation companies but not for driving positions.

All test information will be provided to the database including successful passes, failures and refusals. Drivers will need to authorize participation in testing in writing.

Employers will not only be required to check the database before hiring new drivers but on yearly basis thereafter as well. Drivers who own and operate their own vehicles will have specific protocol to follow to ensure regular and proper record reviews.

Justice and compensation are important

When truck accidents happen, whether they cause minor injuries or wrongful death, injured parties or their surviving family members have the right to seek justice. Finding a qualified attorney immediately after such accidents is something that any victim should do.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury