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Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators must be drug and alcohol free. In 1991, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) passed the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, which requires DOT agencies across the nation to regularly test their drivers for drugs and alcohol. If a driver fails a drug and alcohol test, or a trucker is arrested for a DUI, § 383.37 requires that employer to disallow that driver from operating a CMV. A driver can be disqualified from a year to life, depending on the violation(s). If you were involved in an accident with a semi truck because the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or had a history of substance abuse but was still allowed to drive, you may have a claim.
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According to the FMCSA, truck drivers can be disqualified for drug and alcohol-related offenses. For example, a first conviction for driving under the influence can warrant a year’s suspension. That same violation could warrant up to three years’ suspension if the driver was transporting hazardous materials. The most severe disqualifying offense related to drugs and alcohol is using a vehicle to commit a felony involving controlled substances. That offense would warrant a life suspension with the inability to petition for 10-year reinstatement. Drug and alcohol testing of truckers with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) must be administered by an individual who has successfully completed DOT Supervisor Training.
A review published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine indicated that drug and alcohol use among truck drivers was high due to the stresses of the job, the long hours that are often required, and availability at rest stops and gas stations. For example, amphetamines and cocaine can help drivers stay awake, but can also cause dangerous side effects such as hallucinations and vertigo. While drug & alcohol use among truckers is high worldwide, the FMCSA’s own numbers indicate that only one percent of U.S. truck drivers test positive on random drug and alcohol tests. Another study evaluated trucking fatalities from eight states over a one-year period and found that 67% of fatally injured truckers had one or more drugs in their system, while 33% had detectable concentrations of drugs or alcohol in their bloodstream.
Truck accidents involving drug and alcohol abuse can result in serious injuries to the brain and spinal cord. Victims of drunk drivers may pursue compensation for their medical bills, lost wages and other hardships. Drunk truck driving accidents may also involve punitive damages, which are intended to punish the at-fault party and provide additional financial compensation for the accident victim.
Our team knows how to investigate truck accident cases to determine if drug / alcohol abuse was a factor. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, we may subpoena medical records, police reports, DUI breath tests and other evidence. We may also conduct a thorough investigation of the accident scene, searching for evidence such as prescription bottles and drug paraphernalia.
We can put our extensive experience, skill and resources to work for you to help you pursue fair and just compensation for your truck accident injury. Call now for your free case evaluation!
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