Sadly, there is a long history of truck accidents being caused by a truck driver abusing drugs or alcohol. Because of the nature of the problem, there are a number of regulations that try to limit the problem caused by drug and alcohol abuse.
A driver cannot have used alcohol within four hours of his shift, and a trucking company shall not allow a driver to drive if it appears that the driver has used alcohol within four hours of his shift. Similarly, a driver shall not drive having used a controlled substance, and a trucking company shall not allow a driver to drive if it appears that the driver has used a controlled substance, unless the substance has been prescribed by a physician.
Trucking companies must also have drug and alcohol testing policies in place. Initially, the trucking company must have the driver undergo a drug and alcohol screen prior to the trucker beginning work unless the driver has been tested in the prior six month.
At any point, if the trucking company has a reasonable suspicion that the driver has been improperly using alcohol or controlled substances, the trucking company must have the driver submit to another screen. Trucking companies must also provide training to supervisors to help them identify when a driver might have been improperly using alcohol or controlled substances.
A trucking company must also conduct random drug and alcohol tests on a percentage of its drivers.
Finally, truck drivers must be tested following certain accidents. Anytime there is a fatality, drug and alcohol testing is required. Additionally, screening is required in any wreck where the driver gets a citation and there is an injury requiring immediate treatment away from the scene or where the wreck causes “disabling damage” to any vehicle.