Truck drivers with drunk driving record target of new federal clearinghouse

road accidentLas Vegas motorists navigate the state’s roadways alongside large tractor trailers on a daily basis. Most drivers trust that the truck driver responsible for safely maneuvering the massive vehicle next to them is well-trained and focused. However, a Las Vegas truck accident lawyer knows that there are a significant number of large truck operators who drive while intoxicated. The problem of drunk truck drivers has become so severe, that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has developed a federal clearinghouse designed to decrease the number of negligent truck drivers on the road. Officials hope that the proposed clearinghouse will increase motorist safety and decrease truck accident fatalities.

Federal clearinghouse

Although trucking companies are required to conduct drug and alcohol tests on their employees, there is not a federal database that makes this information readily available to law enforcement, safety inspectors and other officials. The proposed clearinghouse would require certain FMCSA-regulated trucking companies and laboratories to submit information regarding commercial truck operators’ ability to drive. Truck drivers who fail or refuse to take a drug or alcohol test will be recorded in the system. Truckers who are able to return to duty after successfully completing a substance abuse program will also listed in the database.

Intoxicated truck drivers

From 2011 to 2013, federal and state safety inspectors randomly checked commercial trucks and drivers on over 3.5 million occasions. The FMCSA reported that during 2,494 of these checks in 2012, inspectors found intoxicated truck drivers, who were removed from service and ticketed. Another 1,139 truckers were determined to be under the influence of controlled substances. In 2013, 2,095 intoxicated truck drivers and 1,240 truckers who were under the influence of drugs were found and cited. This is concerning, as inspectors only checked a small sample of the commercial trucks that fill the nation’s roadways every day. Removing these negligent truckers from service decreases the risk of a drunk driving accident, a fact known by a Las Vegas truck accident lawyer.

Trucking companies are federally required to conduct random drug and alcohol tests. Approximately 50 percent of commercial truck drivers should be tested for drugs and 10 percent of truckers for alcohol each year, according to the FMCSA. The federal clearinghouse would also help to ensure trucking companies were complying with federal drug and alcohol testing regulations.

Large commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, the FMCSA reported. A collision with a motor vehicle can have catastrophic consequences, and may result in serious injury, property damage, emotional trauma and death. A Las Vegas truck accident lawyer may be extremely familiar with these types of accidents and may be helpful in providing legal counsel to those victimized by truck accidents.