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FMCSA Sets High Standard for Random Drug Testing of Truck Drivers

When vehicles weighing thousands of pounds and traveling at freeway speeds collide, the result can by significant injuries and fatalities.  The danger increases when one of the vehicles is an 80,000 pound fully loaded tractor-trailer.  When the driver of the forty ton big-rig is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, our Miami truck accident lawyers know how the risk of a traffic fatality rises to alarming levels. Despite this frightening prospect, commercial drivers do opt to use drugs to cope with pressures at home, boredom of the road, and fatigue behind the wheel.  Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) continues to regulate the trucking industry by imposing screening procedures that target intoxicating substances, the threat of impaired truck drivers has not disappeared.

The magnitude of the problem is reflected by the continued priority that the federal government places on drug testing operators or tractor-trailers.  While federal safety regulators impose random drug testing on many in people in the transportation industry, the level of testing by the FMCSA exceeds similar testing by the Federal Aviation Commission, Federal Railroad Administration, and other agencies under the auspices of the Department of Transportation.

The FMCSA has indicated that random drug sampling in 2015 will continue at the same 50 percent rate as last year.  This level of testing requires trucking companies to perform one random drug test for every two drivers.  If the trucking company employs 250 drivers, for example, the company will be required to administer 125 random drug tests during 2015.  This fifty percent standard is double that set by the federal government for most other transportation agencies for 2015, which include the following: Federal Aviation Commission, Federal Transit Authority, United States Coast Guard, Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

A worldwide study of the use of intoxicating substances by truck drivers that was published in the Occupation and Environmental Journal was noted by the FMCSA in comments to Reuters, “Safety is our number one priority and FMCSA has strict requirement on pre-employment screening and random and post-accident drug and alcohol testing….”

The study also found that certain truck drivers were more likely to be prone to test positive for drugs or alcohol.  Offending drivers were more typically young and inexperienced.  They were also prone to working nighttime shifts and longer routes.  The companies that employed these drivers also tended to be small to medium firms as opposed to large trucking companies.  The authors of the study speculated that perhaps larger trucking companies can provide higher salaries and better working conditions.  They also speculated that larger trucking companies might be less prone to demand longer driving times and short rest periods which provide a motivation to use amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and other controlled substances that fight stress, fatigue and boredom.

Despite federal regulations that mandate screening for intoxicating substances and random drug testing, trucking companies that disobey these requirements continue to permit drug impaired truck drivers to navigate our roadways.  If you or your love one is injured by a drug impaired truck driver, you may have a legal claim for damages against the negligent truck driver and/or an indifferent trucking company which fails to conduct required screening, report infractions, and implement appropriate disciplinary actions.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence 

If you have been injured in a crash caused by a drugged truck driver, the Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano will tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve.  For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida.  We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.  Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

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