Because of the risks associated with 80,000-pound vehicles on roadways at highway speeds, the truck accident regulations include programs designed to prevent accidents and injuries from alcohol or drug use by truck drivers.
Section 382 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations provides guidance for motor carriers who employ truck drivers, and the new regulations apply to the employers of commercial drivers. Generally, the regulations are intended to preempt state or local laws.
Subpart B of the substance abuse regulations provides that no commercial truck driver shall report for duty or remain on duty (when duty involves safety functions–such as driving) while having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or higher. Further, the regulations require employers to take action should they know of the driver whose alcohol content is 0.04.
More specifically, the regulations prohibit a truck driver from performing any safety-sensitive functions within four hours after consuming alcohol. And further, the regulations require a motor carrier to place a truck driver off-duty should they know about the driver’s consumption of alcohol within the last four hours.
The truck accident prevention rules contained in the trucking regulations go on to specify prohibit patients against controlled substances and also set forth specific testing procedures. Each of these rules is intended to protect the public and to keep truck drivers off the road if they have consumed alcohol or taking drugs.
Testing after an accident can be very important and is required in certain circumstances such as a fatal accident or other serious accident where the truck driver received a citation for causing the accident.
In circumstances where the truck driver is found to have been under the influence of all or drugs, the element of exemplary or punitive damages may come into play in a truck accident lawsuit. Jury verdicts have been significant when a jury believes that the truck driver was taking drugs or was intoxicated and call someone else harm.
Greg Baumgartner is a Houston truck crash attorney and the founder of the Baumgartner law firm, which is dedicated to helping personal injury victims seek civil justice. If you would like to speak with a truck wreck lawyer call the Baumgartner firm.