The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will begin requiring commercial driving employers to follow new pre-hiring screen testing and reporting to reduce impaired driving among commercial vehicle operators.
People who live in Walnut Creek, California know that there are many risks inherent with sharing the road with commercial vehicles. Serious motor vehicle accidents can occur at any time but when a collision involves a large semi truck or other heavy vehicle, the consequences can be even more severe. These crashes can be affected by various factors and impairment by drugs or alcohol is one factor getting attention these days.
Impaired drivers target of new rule
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as reported by the Commercial Carrier Journal, will be implementing new rules that must be followed by both employers and applicants during the process of considering drivers’ applications for commercial driving jobs.
The FMCSA is creating a new database that will be used to collect and report information pertaining to drug and alcohol testing and use among people with commercial driving licenses. When reviewing applications for driving positions, employers will be mandated to review the database before making decisions about hiring. They will also be mandated to supply job candidates’ drug and alcohol test results to the database.
Job candidates will either need to agree in writing to take pre-employment drug and alcohol tests or to refuse the testing. Any such refusal will eliminate them from the ability to be hired for driving jobs and must also be reported to the database.
Yearly reviews of drivers’ records in the database will also be required. Any owner-operators will be required to utilize third parties for all mandated review processes.
Dangers of drunk driving
Drunk driving is the cause of many catastrophic injuries and even fatalities every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that the number of truck drivers involved in fatal drunk driving accidents rose by 86 percent between 2011 and 2012.
Of all deaths caused by impaired drivers in 2011, 43 of the drivers were operating large trucks. In 2012, 80 of the drivers in such accidents were operating large trucks.
Dangers of drugged driving
Impairment by drugs is as much a part of the focus of the FMCSA’s efforts as is impairment by alcohol. The Food and Drug Administration also has recently acknowledged the serious nature of driving while impaired by drugs by issuing preliminary guidelines to drug makers about how to better identify which substances can impair driving functions.
Options for California drivers
When a vehicle accident occurs and involves a commercial vehicle, the need for legal involvement is great. Talking to an attorney after such a collision is always recommended.