There is no excuse for truck accidents involving drug and alcohol abuse. If you’ve been hurt in a commercial truck accident and the driver was abusing drugs or alcohol, contact the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, today. You should not be forced to pay for a truck driver’s reckless choices. Contact us now for a free consultation.
Regulations on Drug and Alcohol Use Among Truck Drivers
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have strict guidelines for drug and alcohol testing of truck drivers. These rules apply to all commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders operating vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more.
All drug tests look for the following:
- Opiates (heroin and other drugs derived from opium and codeine)
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
Alcohol and Drug Test for Truck Drivers
Here are the times when a driver can or must be tested for drug or alcohol abuse:
- Pre-employment: All CDL holders must pass a drug test with a negative result before they can drive a commercial vehicle on a public road. Alcohol testing is only required if the company requires the test for all CDL holders.
- Post-accident: Drivers must be tested any time they’re involved in a fatal accident, or if they receive a traffic citation as a result of an injury or a vehicle-disabling accident. The drug test must occur within 32 hours of the accident. The alcohol test must occur within eight hours of the wreck.
- Reasonable suspicion: DOT supervisors who have been specially trained can order drivers to be tested if the driver is showing signs of alcohol or drug abuse.
- Return-to-duty: If a driver has a positive test, he or she will be required to have a negative test result before returning to regular duty. Return to duty requires “direct observation” under federal guidelines. A refusal to take the test may be considered a positive result.
- Follow-up: Once a driver has returned to duty, he or she will be required to pass a certain number of follow-up tests for drugs and alcohol. Regulations require drivers to pass a minimum of six unannounced, directly observed tests within 12 months following a negative return-to-duty test. Depending on the driver in question and the circumstances of the case, follow-up tests can be ordered for up to five years.
- Random testing: Drivers can also be ordered to submit to random drug tests, even if they’re off-duty or at home. However, random tests can only be ordered when the driver is on-duty or immediately before or after. Once the test has been ordered, the driver must immediately report to the test location. Refusing a random test may be considered a positive result.
If a driver tests positive on a drug test, has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent or higher, or refuses to take a drug test, the driver must be removed from operating a commercial vehicle on public roads. From there, the driver’s employer must provide a list of substance abuse professionals for the driver to see. This begins the return-to-duty process. This process must be completed before the driver can legally drive a commercial vehicle on public roadways again.
How We Investigate Truck Accidents Due to Drug and Alcohol Use
Finding the proof you need to show that a driver was abusing drugs or alcohol at the time of a crash can be difficult. Both the driver and the trucking company have a strong incentive to hide evidence after an impaired truck driver accident. That’s why you need a skilled truck driver drug and alcohol abuse lawyer.
Some of the evidence our team will gather in a truck accident claim include:
- Statements from you, the truck driver, and anyone else involved in the collision
- Interviews from witnesses at the scene of the crash
- Photo and video evidence from the scene of the crash
- Police reports and documents from other law enforcement agencies
- Reports from required drug tests
- Driver logs
- Employer records (training materials, company policies, etc.)
Companies may try to hide potentially damaging records if you don’t hire an attorney quickly after your accident. That’s why speaking with a drug and alcohol truck accident lawyer as soon as possible is so important.
Compensation for Victims of Truck Accidents Involving Drug and Alcohol Use
Here are some of the losses, also known as damages, you can seek in a truck accident claim:
- Past medical bills (doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, etc.)
- Future medical care
- Renovations to your home to accommodate any injuries you sustained
- Lost wages
- Reduced ability to earn money in the future
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of financial or emotional support if a family member died or was injured in the crash
This is not a full list of the potential compensation you could receive for your accident claim. For a full explanation of the damages you could be eligible for, contact the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC.
Were You a Victim of an Impaired Truck Driver? Contact Us Now
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving an impaired truck driver, speak with an attorney. There’s a limited window for filing these sorts of claims, and the sooner you get started, the better. Contact the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, now for your free case review.