FMCSA & New Drug/Alcohol Regulations for Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers in Georgia will soon be required to undergo substance testing before they can be hired for new jobs.

The government agency that collects data about motor vehicle accidents is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This group provides data that can be used by others to identify risks and areas to improve safety for all people in Georgia and around the nation. Residents in Atlanta, for example, should realize the dangers they face each day when they take to the roads.

Data from the NHTSA for 2012 indicates that Fulton County lost more lives in truck accidents that year than any other county in the state. It also recorded the second most number of deaths from drunk driving accidents in the state. Put together, more than 40 percent of all vehicular fatalities in Fulton County that year resulted from crashes with either truck drivers or impaired drivers. That is higher than the state number of 38 percent for both categories.

What can help?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is creating a new database that will house complete records surrounding drug and alcohol use for all drivers who hold commercial driving licenses.

Once the regulations are in force, drivers must pass drug and alcohol tests before being hired for new driving jobs and their records will be reviewed annually by their employers. All convictions for drunk or drugged driving will be entered into the database and drivers will be required to complete a stated protocol before they will be allowed to drive in a commercial capacity again.

How big is the problem?

In just a matter of minutes, anyone can find headlines that indicate the problem of impaired driving among commercial drivers spans the nation. Some stories reported recently include:

  • A truck driver in Los Angeles has been arrested on felony criminal charges and drunk driving for his involvement in the death of another driver in a hit-and-run accident according to KTLA.
  • A 34-year old Pennsylvania man lost his life in a multi-vehicle accident initiated by an alleged drunk truck driver. The LehighValleyLive.com story indicated that the trucker's BAC was nearly three times higher than what is legally allowable.
  • A senior citizen was hit in her vehicle by a flatbed truck. WSBT.com reported that the truck driver was found to be under narcotic drug influence. Both drivers were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
  • A third drunk driving arrest was made in Ohio. The defendant is a truck driver who was stopped by authorities for his reckless driving according to a story in the Sandusky Register.

Every citizen deserves the right to be safe on the roads and these stories highlight the reality that such safety is not always present due to the decisions and actions of others.

What can victims do?

Motor vehicle accidents can and will happen despite the best efforts of most people. When these situations arise, it is highly important to seek the proper help.

Contacting an attorney at Hilley & Frieder should be part of this process. We represent clients in Atlanta and throughout Georgia including Marietta, Decatur, Douglasville, Duluth, Lithonia, Lawrenceville, Macon, Athens, Kennesaw, Cartersville, Smyrna, Stone Mountain, Norcross, Riverdale, Jonesboro, Fulton County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, Gwinnett County, Clayton County, Douglas County, Barrow County, Henry County, Fayette County, Cherokee County, Forsyth County, and Floyd County.

Keywords: commercial, truck, accident, injury