DRUG AND ALCOHOL RELATED TRUCK ACCIDENTS
Information and what to do.
Truck drivers have some of the most demanding jobs in the country. They must work long hours, often alone, while fulfilling tight deadlines. They have to travel hundreds of miles in a day and arrive to destinations safely, all while obeying dozens of federal and local truck industry laws. Sometimes the pressure on truck drivers is too great, and they turn to substances to cope, remain energized, or to stay awake. Truckers under the influence are unpredictable and liable to cause serious or fatal truck accidents.
Employers, motor carriers, shippers, and leasers are obligated by Federal Motor Vehicle Standards to verify driver qualifications, safety records, and employment applications. Quite often, they don’t. As a victim, you have the right to retain an attorney and discover your options for financial recovery. Call one of our truck accident lawyers at Murphy Law Firm.
Federal Regulations Regarding Drug Use and Driving
Federal regulation subpart A § 392.4 which regulates the use of drugs and other narcotic substances by truck drivers and clearly states: No truck driver shall be on duty and possess, be under the influence of, or use, any of the following drugs or other substances:
- Any 21 CFR 1308.11 Schedule I substance
- An amphetamine or any formulation thereof (including, but not limited, to “pep pills” and “bennies”)
- A narcotic drug or any derivative thereof
- Any other substance, to a degree that renders the driver incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle- including the drinking of alcohol by truck drivers prior to driving a commercial truck
Subpart A § 392.5 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations states clearly: No truck driver shall:
- Use alcohol, or be under the influence of alcohol, within four hours before going on duty or operating, or having physical control of, a commercial motor vehicle
- Use alcohol, be under the influence of alcohol, or have any measured alcohol concentration or detected presence of alcohol, while on duty, or operating, or in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle.
Driving under the influence (DUI) laws are different for commercial drivers. The law holds them to higher standards of care than the average driver, mostly because of the dangerous propensity of large commercial vehicles. Intoxicated commercial drivers are also liabilities to their employers. Drugs, whether it is alcohol, a psychoactive drug, or psychotropic substance act on the brain and can alter perception, coordination, cognitive behavior, attention, and balance that is required for safe driving.
In Louisiana, the maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level for commercial driver is half of what it is for other drivers (0.04% compared to 0.08%).
There are also rules under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that prohibit drivers from operating commercial vehicles within four hours of alcohol consumption.
The Federal Motor Carrier Administration’s drug and alcohol rules are extensive. They involve mandatory drug and alcohol testing prior to employment, after an accident, at random, and for reasonable suspicion.
Any driver that tests with a 0.04% or above BAC level may face job termination or consequences like suspension with mandatory substance abuse treatment plans.
Failure to submit to testing can result in immediate termination. The presence of any drugs will result in removal from the safety-sensitive functions of the job, even if the drugs are provided through prescription. The driver will then undergo further evaluation.
Some companies tolerate “bad” drivers, without proper employment verifications, including drivers with drug and alcohol abuse, speeding and accident records.
Some push drivers for “efficient” round trips, requiring excessive hours by drivers.
All of the above practices are in violation of federal law and have serious safety consequences. Such conduct shows a gross and conscious disregard for public safety on the part of the employer, motor carrier, shipper, or leaser. If you’re the victim of this gross negligent behavior take your case to an experienced truck accident lawyer at Murphy Law Firm. Call for a free case evaluation at (225) 928-8800.
Baton Rouge DUI Truck Accident Lawyers
Murphy Law Firm, has defended Louisiana residents in car accidents and DUI trucking accidents for decades. We understand federal and state laws regarding the trucking industry. We have also seen first-hand how devastating a DUI truck accident can be to victims and their families. It’s our mission to give a voice to those who might otherwise never speak up. Our team works closely with clients to explore their rights and legal options, and to take the best steps toward maximum compensation. One of our personal injury attorneys can listen to your claim and help you fight for the recovery your injuries demand. Contact us today at (225) 928-8800 for a free consultation from our team of personal injury lawyers.