Commercial Truck Driver Drug and Alcohol Abuse

The statistics regarding the number of accidents due to drunk driving and substance abuse are staggering the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently conducted an investigation that suggests 33 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for alcohol or other substance abuse. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration further reports that in 2012, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, which equals out to one death every 51 minutes. This article will examine the role that drug and alcohol abuse plays in various truck accidents in Texas.

What Rules Regulate Drug Use for Drivers in Texas?

Drugs used by truck drivers include marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy, heroin, and prescription medications including painkillers and muscle relaxants. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration contains various regulations regarding the use of drugs and other substances by truck drivers, including:

  • Possession and Use. Drivers who are engaged in duty must not possess or be under the influence of various drugs including amphetamines, narcotics, or any other type of substance that makes the driver unable to safely operate the vehicle.

Despite the great risk posed by drugs, drivers still resort to drug to deal with issues including fatigue, stress, boredom, and loneliness.

What Rules Regulate Alcohol Use for Drivers in Texas?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also contains various regulations regarding the use of drugs and other substances by truck drivers, including:

  • Alcohol Prohibitions. Drivers are not allowed to use alcohol within four hours of operating a truck or while operating the vehicle.
  • Blood Alcohol Level. Commercial drivers can be charged if the driver has a blood alcohol content greater than .04.
  • Motor Carrier Requirements. A motor carrier must implement certain alcohol prevention tactics at the company by designating a company official to run the company’s drug and alcohol program, establishing a company drug and alcohol policy, providing educational materials, and various other regulations.
  • A driver is not to possess alcohol while operating a vehicle unless one of several exceptions exist including if the truck’s cargo is alcohol.
  • Trucking companies are required to have individuals screened for alcohol and drug use at certain times including prior to hiring and after a fatal truck crash. Truck drivers must also submit to random screenings. Drivers who refuse to submit to screenings may be barred from driving.

Who Is Responsible for Accidents Due to Drug or Alcohol Abuse?

There are several legal theories through which one can hold responsible a truck driver who caused an accident due to alcohol or drug abuse. The employer or trucking company may also have to pay damages, which can prove vital because companies almost always have more money to pay for damages than individual drivers.

If you or a loved one has been injured an accident due to drug or alcohol abuse, contact our law firm. As you focus on recovering, our firm will investigate the role that drug and alcohol abuse played in your accident in addition to seeking the compensation you deserve. Call 409-838-1000 or email our lawyers to schedule your free initial consultation.