Relief from drunk truckers sought by FMCSA

The FMCSA is cracking down on drunk truck drivers and other commercially licensed drivers with a new program to prevent drunk driving.

Nationwide, drunk driving has received much attention in recent decades. Laws and penalties have become stronger in Texas and other states. Awareness of the dangers associated with impaired driving is also extending to the world of commercially licensed drivers thanks to a new program being initiated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Known as the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule, the program will center around a database that will house records for all drivers who hold commercial drivers' licenses. Information will include substance test passes, fails and refusals as well as any impaired driving arrests and convictions. The goal is clear-to reduce the opportunity for commercial drivers to operate vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

How serious is the problem in San Antonio?

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that only Dallas County had more deaths from alcohol-related accidents than Bexar County. Dallas and Harris Counties are the only counties in the state that lost more lives than Bexar County did in large truck accidents.

Statewide, 54.8 percent of all vehicular fatalities resulted from either truck accidents or collisions involving alcohol. In Bexar County, that number is even higher at 62.35 percent.

A look at trucks and alcohol together

News headlines that detail impaired driving among truckers are not difficult to find. The Sandusky Register ran a story about a truck driver stopped in Ohio after being seen driving erratically. The man's blood alcohol level was calculated at 0.256 percent and an open alcohol container was also found in his truck. He was arrested by authorities and this arrest marks his third for impaired driving.

LehighValleyLive.com reported on a fatal accident allegedly caused by a drunk truck driver now facing vehicular homicide and other charges as a result of the incident. The man hit another vehicle from the rear, sandwiching it in between the truck and another vehicle in front of it. The man in the middle vehicle died at the scene of the accident.

An overview of the clearinghouse

The FMCSA's new program will be instituted in late 2015 or early 2016. Some of the key elements will include:

  • Drivers must submit to substance testing before being able to be hired for driving positions.
  • Employers must review all drivers' records prior to hiring and annually thereafter.
  • Drivers who do not agree to substance testing will not be allowed to operate commercial vehicles but can be hired for other duties.

Commercial drivers who have been convicted of drugged or drunk driving must complete the official return-to-duty protocol in order to be approved to drive again.

Get help when accidents happen

The actions of the FMCSA can offer great safety improvements on area roads but they are not likely to eliminate all accidents. If you or someone you love is involved in a truck accident, talking with an attorney as soon as possible is the best way to ensure due compensation is received. Please call us at 210-226-3777, toll free at 877-716-3777 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free initial consultation and case evaluation.

Keywords: commercial, truck, accident, injury