Impaired driving among truckers target for reduction

New processes will be implemented for the screening of new truck drivers in an effort to reduce impaired driving among people operating commercial vehicles.

Most people in Livingston, New Jersey frequently hear about the dangers of drunk driving. Accidents caused by drivers who make the choice to get behind the wheel of a car or other vehicle while intoxicated leave too many innocent people seriously injured every year. In the most severe cases, fatalities result as well.

However, it is not only alcohol that is of concern when it comes to impaired operation of a motor vehicle. Illegal drugs and prescriptions drugs alike can interfere with a driver's ability to safely control a vehicle. Pharmaceutical companies were recently issued some information by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that provides details about how to appropriately identify which of their drugs may cause impairment among drivers.

With these thoughts in mind, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is revising the process for hiring new commercial drivers in order to reduce the chances that a trucker or other commercial driver may operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

What is the FMCSA doing?

As reported by the Commercial Carrier Journal, the FMCSA is presently developing a new database. This database will be the central repository for data about persons with commercial driver's licenses, especially related to drug and alcohol use or test results.

Companies or individuals looking to hire new commercial drivers will only be allowed to do so after first reviewing candidates' records in this new database. Additionally, the job candidates must complete screening tests for alcohol and drugs and the potential employers will have to provide all test result information to the database.

Any driver who does not wish to engage in the screening tests may opt out but then will not be able to hold a commercial driving job. Any driver who is an owner-operator must hire a third party to perform the database reviews and other duties required by the employers.

What is the risk of drunk driving accidents involving trucks?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is a very real risk associated with drunk driving collisions caused by truck drivers. In 2012, there were more fatalities associated with drunk driving accidents nationally than in 2011. This is true for all such crashes as well as those involving truck drivers. However, the increase was far greater for those accidents that involved impaired truckers. Deaths from all drunk driving accidents rose by slightly more than four percent while deaths involving impaired truck drivers rose by 86 percent.

How to get help

Despite improvements designed to reduce impaired driving among commercial drivers, some accidents will still happen. When involved in any such crash, victims in New Jersey are encouraged to contact a lawyer promptly.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury