Simply put; drunk driving is irresponsible. For commercial truck drivers behind the wheel of a 40-ton big rig, it can become the cause of a serious personal injury or even a wrongful death.The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) places very strict requirements on truckers. While other motorists are considered to be under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .08% or more, truckers face the stricter limit of .04%.This blood alcohol level is so low that any trucker who is legally intoxicated may actually still appear to be sober at the scene of a wreck. That is why it is very important to have a thorough investigation completed after any truck wreck. This is also why trucking regulations require a truck driver involved in a significant collision to be drug and alcohol tested shortly after the incident.
Facing increased pressure to drive farther and faster, many truck drivers turn to the use of stimulants like cocaine, ephedrine, speed, and methamphetamine. Instead of getting a good amount of sleep, many truck drivers take drugs to help stay awake. However, they are still not even clear-headed enough to be competent and coordinated behind the wheel, and can put others at risk of injury or death.
It’s not just illegal drugs that affect truck drivers. Prescription medications that are actually legal can also cause serious harm when used while operating a big truck. Truck drivers taking prescription painkillers or even ADHD drugs should not be able to operate a truck. Prescription sleep aids, like Ambien, have also been linked to truck accidents.
Truck drivers may not use any controlled substances, unless prescribed by a licensed physician who is familiar with the driver’s medical history. The doctor must also determine that the drug use will not adversely affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.
Federal regulations require trucking companies to test their drivers for alcohol and drug use as an employment condition. These regulations further require that periodic random tests be given to truck drivers while they are on duty, and after an accident that involves a death or significant injury.
If you or a loved one have been affected by a careless trucker, you should contact one of the trucking lawyers of our firm to discuss your case and legal options.