A new approach to impaired driving among commercial drivers

The federal government is cracking down on drunk driving among commercial drivers with a new database to monitor testing and impaired driving convictions.

Drunk driving accidents and large truck accidents are known to be serious and all-too-often deadly incidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these two types of accidents accounted for more than 38 percent of all vehicular fatalities in the state of Georgia in 2012.

The picture is even worse in Fulton County where drunk driving accidents or collisions involving large commercial trucks together were involved in more than 40 percent of all automotive fatalities that year. Fulton County also recorded the single most number of truck accident fatalities among all Georgia counties and only DeKalb County lost more lives to drunk drivers than Fulton County.

A lethal combination

The combination of alcohol and commercial vehicles is seen in accidents throughout the nation. A Sandusky Register article indicated that one truck driver's most recent on-the-job DUI arrest ended up actually being his third such arrest while another trucker in Pennsylvania caused the death of a 34-year old man. The trucker's blood alcohol level at the time of the accident was close to three times more than what is legally allowed according to LehighValleyLive.com

A freeway in Los Angeles was the site of a hit-and-run accident recorded by KTLA.com in which a truck driver was operating his vehicle while drunk and killed the driver of another vehicle, fleeing the area after the incident. The Lake County News reported on a truck-bicycle accident that found the truck driver arrested on drunk driving charges.

What is the answer?

There may be no easy way to eliminate all such incidents but the Commercial Carrier Journal provides some information about an effort launched by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration directly aimed at reducing drunk driving accidents involving commercial drivers.

It relies upon a national database that will house driving records for all people who hold commercial licenses. It will tell of all substance test results and even refusals. DUI and related convictions will be tracked as well. Employers will be mandated to consult the database before they can make hiring decisions and they must also commit to annual record inspections.

Drivers will not be allowed to hold driving positions if they refuse to take drug and alcohol tests before being hired. If found guilty of impaired driving offenses drivers must follow certain steps before being allowed to drive commercially again.

Victims should take action

As with any motor vehicle accident, victims or their representatives should seek legal assistance as soon as possible following a drunk driving accident with a commercial vehicle. This action can make a difference in receiving the needed compensation.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury