It’s an all-too-familiar scene – Witnesses report that the big-rig was speeding and weaving through traffic before it crossed the center line and crashed head-on into a minivan carrying a family of four, killing two of them.
Commercial trucks, such as big-rigs, 18-wheelers, and semi-trucks, are incredibly large and have limited braking capacity, making them one of the most dangerous types of motor vehicles on the road. As such, the U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) impose strict regulations on truckers and trucking industry employers.
Drug and alcohol enforcement is perhaps one of the most important Federal trucking rules.
And, because of this, the truck driver will be given post-crash drug and alcohol tests, but will that be enough to determine whether he or she was under the influence?
Did you know that many truck drivers use controlled substances to help them stay awake during their long trips along our nation’s highways?
Many long-distance drivers have rushed time frames, and after an extended number of hours and countless miles on the roads, driver fatigue takes over, leaving the driver defenseless against his or her exhaustion. Exhaustion, in many cases, leads truckers to drug use, and intoxication of any degree can cause serious consequences.
Studies have shown that a large number of truck drivers are under the influence of drugs and alcohol on our roads. Intoxicated and exhausted truckers can lead to catastrophic consequences.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who completely investigated fatal truck driving accidents and performed comprehensive drug screening on the bodies of decreased truck drivers, found that out of 168 cases:
- Sixty-seven percent of the drivers had detectable traces of one or more drugs
- Thirty-three percent of the drivers had detectable blood concentrations of psychoactive drugs or alcohol
- Thirteen percent of the drivers had traces of cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol, ethanol or alcohol
- Eight percent of the drivers had traces of cocaine or benzoylecgonine
- Seven percent of the drivers had traces of amphetamines, methamphetamines, phenylpropanolamine, ephedrine or pseudoephedrine
According to 49 Code of Federal Regulations Part 40, “Essentially, trucking industry employers must regularly and randomly test their drivers for drugs and alcohol. Drugs tested for include marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and PCP.”
It is illegal for any commercial driver to operate his or her truck with an alcohol concentration of .04 percent or higher.
If you were involved in an accident with a commercial truck, then you may be entitled to take legal action. Contact the San Bernardino personal injury law offices of Welebir | Tierney for the help you need. Our attorneys will look for trucker drug or alcohol use and if this contributed to your accident, then you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against, not only the truck driver, but their employer as well.