This year, commercial truckers will now, unfortunately, be subjected to fewer drug tests. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced in December of 2015 that beginning in January of 2016, it would require half the annual percentage rate of random controlled substances testing for commercial vehicle drivers. Previously, the FMCSA required trucking companies to perform random drug tests for 50 percent of their workforce. Now, trucking companies will only need to test 25 percent of the carrier’s average number of driver positions each year.
Drug Testing Overlooks Synthetic Marijuana
The Department of Transportation currently requires that drug tests be sent to laboratories to identify alcohol concentration of .02 and greater and the presence of one of six classes of drugs: opiates, amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP).
It is important to note, however, that current drug testing does not screen for synthetic marijuana. Today, synthetic marijuana is popular among drug users, and its use has been linked to at least four fatal deaths in 2014. A tractor-trailer traveling near Oklahoma crossed over the median and collided with a bus carrying 15 members of a college softball team. Four students were ejected from the bus and tragically died in the accident. All of the passengers were injured, as was the driver. Investigations revealed the driver was under the influence of synthetic marijuana. Notably, the driver would have passed a drug test even if under the influence of this drug.
Many safety groups oppose the FMCSA’s decision to reduce the number of mandatory annual drug tests and many believe there needs to be increased testing and oversight over the industry, instead of reduced testing. The FMCSA has stated that the decrease may not continue beyond this year, dependent upon drug and alcohol use rates.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you have been injured in a truck accident, it is important to contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Your truck accident attorney can examine the facts surrounding the accident, advise you of your legal rights, and take the necessary steps to protect them. Following a truck accident, investigations will often consider the potential use of drugs or alcohol. Drug use can be especially difficult to detect as many drugs quickly exit the system, and drug testing takes longer to complete than alcohol tests, which can be completed with a Breathalyzer. This makes it especially critical for truck accident victims to retain the help of an attorney who will advocate on their behalf and ensure all necessary tests are completed. Seek a licensed truck accident lawyer in your area today.