A new way to target drunk and drugged driving among truckers

Published On: August 22nd, 2015

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows a big spike in the number of traffic fatalities attributed to truckers under the influence of alcohol between 2011 and 2012. In 2011, 43 deaths nationwide resulted from accidents caused by these drivers. In only one year, that number climbed by 86 percent. That is something that everyone including Hudson Valley residents should take seriously.

The United States Food and Drug Administration recently highlighted the reality of impairment when driving that can be caused by drugs as well. A communication from the FDA to drug companies focused on how to better identify which manufactured substances were most likely to hinder peoples' ability to safety drive vehicles.

An accident caused by a drunk driver can be extremely serious. Loss of life or permanent disability and disfigurement are all too common in such crashes. When a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle is involved, the serious nature of these wrecks can increase.

A look at impaired truck driving around the nation

News stories about impaired driving among truckers can be found in moments. Two recent stories show that the dangers lurk in all parts of the nation. Gainsville.com reported on an accident in which a drunk truck driver hit a passenger vehicle and continued driving. The trucker was stopped by law enforcement further down the interstate and currently faces DUI charges. The man failed field sobriety tests and his measured BAC level was well beyond the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

The Burlington Free Press provided details of a truck driver who rode off of the road in Vermont. According to the report, the man was impacted by the use of a non-prescription stimulant drug. He will face a court appearance in late May regarding the crash.

Such incidents have led the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to seek a new way to reduce truck accident injuries and fatalities influenced by drugs or alcohol.

The Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

According to the Commercial Carrier Journal, the FMCSA has been working with this goal in mind for some time. In 2014, the agency approved a plan targeted at a reduction in impaired driving among commercial operators. OverdriveOnline.com recently noted that the plan will take effect in the middle of December of 2015.

Among the requirements of the plan, employers must request drug and alcohol tests of all driving job applicants. The results as well as any refusal to participate must be reported to a national database. Refusals will also prevent a candidate from working as a commercial driver.

Safety in New York and beyond

The government's effort is aimed at improving safety for Hudson Valley residents as well as those in other parts of the nation. People injured in or impacted by impaired driving accidents involving large trucks should always get legal help.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury