Even though drivers of commercial trucks have been required to submit to drug and alcohol testing for the past 15 years, there have been some loopholes in the system that have allowed many of these drug and alcohol users to slip through the cracks and continue to drive.
A bill, called the Safe Roads Act is currently being considered that would eliminate some of these loopholes when it comes to drug and alcohol reporting. The bill is being sponsored by Senators Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Ben Nelson(D-Neb.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). The American Trucking Association supports the bill wholeheartedly stating that “this bill will result in safer roads and a safer trucking industry”.
The Problem Today
Recent studies have shown that 68,000 of the 3.4 million truck drivers driving tractor-trailers on the road today have tested positive for drug use. Commercial drivers are hired even if they are unsafe to drive because:
- Many of the drivers looking for work do not report their past positive drug test results to their prospective employer.
- The employers (carriers) do not thoroughly check the background of these new drivers.
- Self-employed drivers who are negligent do not voluntarily remove themselves from service.
Here is what the new bill called the Safe Roads Act would provide:
- Establish a cost-effective database of drug testing information of commercial drivers’ drug test results. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends this database.
- Require medical review officers, employers, and service agents to report positive test results for drugs and alcohol to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
- Require employers to check the database prior to hiring prospective employees, and each year drivers are employed with the company.
- All data included on tests or any refusals to take tests would be recorded in the database.
- The drivers will need to have test data that is no more than three years old, and they need to be willing participants.
- Drivers will need to maintain current records.
Some trucking accidents are caused by negligent truck drivers which may have been avoided had the responsible trucking companies performed the proper background checks prior to hiring the driver. These new rules may help reduce the number of drivers who have tested positive for illegal drugs that are behind the wheel of tractor-trailers.
Our experienced tractor-trailer accident lawyers give their best efforts to every case we handle as part of our ongoing goal of being the top personal injury law firm in Georgia.