FMCSA Reduced Percentage of Required Random Drug Screens for Truck Drivers in 2016
Commercial Truck Accident Lawyers in Tampa
At Capaz Law Firm in Tampa, our injury attorneys understand the practices and the regulations of the trucking industry. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving a large truck, tractor trailer, 18-wheeler, semi truck or other commercial vehicle, it is important to seek advice from an experienced truck accident lawyer who litigates truck accident cases regularly.
Impaired Truck Driver Caused Fatal Accident
A devastating truck accident occurred on September 26, 2014, resulting in the deaths of four young women. While traveling in excess of 70 mph in the northbound lanes of I-35 near Davis, Oklahoma, a tractor-trailer crossed over the 100-foot-wide median, entered the southbound lanes of oncoming traffic, and collided with a medium-sized bus. The bus was transporting fifteen members of the North Central Texas College softball team. Due to the force of impact with the tractor trailer, four young college students were ejected from the bus and sustained fatal injuries. All other passengers, including both drivers, were injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted an independent and extensive crash investigation. In November 2015, the NTSB released its findings which included a determination that “the probable cause of the crash was the failure of the truck-tractor driver to control his vehicle due to incapacitation likely stemming from his use of synthetic cannabinoids.” There was no evidence that the truck driver was braking or steering as the semi-truck crossed the median prior to the impact with the passenger bus.
In addition to its findings, the NTSB made new safety recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which included but was not limited to:
1. Determine the prevalence of commercial motor vehicle driver use of impairing substances, particularly synthetic cannabinoids, and develop a plan to reduce the use of such substances.
2. Work with motor carrier industry stakeholders to develop a plan to aid motor carriers in addressing commercial motor vehicle driver use of impairing substances, particularly those not covered under current drug-testing regulations—such as promoting best practices by carriers, expanding impairment detection training and authority, and developing performance based methods of evaluation.
Lower Standards for Drug Testing of Commercial Truck Drivers
Despite the recommendation for tougher drug testing requirements, the FMCSA announced (in December 2015) that, pursuant to 49 CFR 382.305, it was reducing the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing for drivers of commercial motor vehicles from 50% to 25%. Effective January 1, 2016, truck carriers will only have to subject 25% of their drivers to random drug screenings.
The DOT drug tests require laboratory testing to identify alcohol concentration of 0.02 and greater, as well as five classes of drugs: marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and methamphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP). Notably, truck drivers are not tested for synthetic marijuana. Thus, the incapacitated truck driver who caused the tragic deaths of the four young women in September 2014 would have passed a random drug screen administered by his employer.
The simple existence of big semi trucks on our roads is dangerous. While many truck drivers are professional, law-abiding citizens, an unfortunate number give in to the temptation to drink alcohol and/or use drugs while operating their trucks and commercial vehicles. The amount of money a truck driver earns is dependent upon his ability to meet delivery deadlines, so drivers are under constant stress and pressure to remain awake and to stay on the road. As a result, the abuse of prescription drugs remains prevalent in the trucking industry.
Contact Capaz Law Firm: Tampa Truck Accident Injury Attorneys
Truck drivers who operate large commercial vehicles and tractor-trailers while under the influence of alcohol and/or any type of drug (legal or illegal) act with a willful, wanton or reckless disregard of the safety of others on the roadways. These negligent truck drivers must be held accountable for their actions. Our Tampa truck accident attorneys are aggressive and dedicated to helping victims of truck accidents hold all responsible parties liable for their negligent actions. If you or a loved one has been involved in an crash involving a commercial vehicle, large truck, tractor trailer, semi truck, or 18-wheeler in Tampa, contact the Capaz Law firm to speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer today.