When commercial drivers operate vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the risks to others on the road is great. Learn how to get help.
The risk of serious injuries or even death when drunk driving accidents or large truck accidents happen is great. Massachusetts motorists, passengers and pedestrians alike are all potential victims in these tragic situations.
To help reduce the chance that commercially licensed drivers can operate large vehicles while impaired, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is in the process of creating a database that will house driving records and report on substance test results and impaired driving convictions.
According to the Commercial Carrier Journal, the goal of the database and associated guidelines is to curb the number of accidents that happen due to drug or alcohol use of truckers. Both drivers and employers will have specific responsibilities as set out by the FMCSA as follows:
- Employers must consult the database to review candidates' records prior to making new hires.
- Employers must review all current employees' driving records annually.
- Drivers must agree to take and then pass drug and alcohol tests before being hired to drive commercial vehicles.
- All drugged or drunk driving convictions must be reported to the database.
- Drivers with impaired driving convictions will not be allowed to drive commercially again until they have met stated criteria.
Drivers who own and operate their own vehicles will need to work with third parties for appropriate record review procedures.
A national dilemma
From east to west and north to south, the problems associated with drunk driving accidents involving commercial drivers can be seen. A fatal hit-and-run crash detailed by KTLA.com now has a truck driver facing felony charges including DUI for his role in the accident which occurred on a California freeway. The Lake County News reported on another trucker arrested for DUI charges after his truck hit a bicyclist.
Visually reckless driving led authorities to stop a truck driver in Ohio. According to the Sandusky Register, the man's BAC was close to three times what is legally allowed. Via LehighValleyLive.com, people can read about a multi-vehicle accident which claimed the life of one man. The crash was initiated by a truck driver found to be impaired at the time.
The risk in Massachusetts
Information released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that in 2012, almost 40 percent of all deaths in automotive accidents happened in drunk driving or truck crashes. In Essex County, trucks and alcohol played a part in more than 37 percent of lives lost in crashes. Statewide, only Worcester County saw more deaths in large truck accidents than Essex County.
How to seek help
When accidents happen, people may not always know where to turn for help. Consulting with an attorney as soon as possible after a crash is always recommended.
Keywords: truck, accident, injury