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New rule may reduce drug and alcohol related truck accidents

Since the 1990s, drivers of commercial trucks have been subject to drug and alcohol testing. However, privacy protections existed, limiting the release of and access to drivers' drug and alcohol testing results. Now, in an effort to improve both reporting and safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced a rule that will create a driver database and mandate that carriers report truck drivers' failed drug test results. In addition, under the new rule, employers will have to search the database prior to hiring drivers.

Current rules

Currently, drug and alcohol testing is required pre-employment and in other situations. Employers are required to have CDL drivers pass a drug test before allowing them to drive a CMV. Employer-drug testing is mandatory following certain types of truck accidents. Random testing can also be conducted, and when there is a reasonable suspicion that the driver may be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

Drivers who fail a drug test, refuse it or violate other prohibitions must complete a return-to-duty program. Drivers must then pass a drug test before returning to their job driving a commercial vehicle.

New rule

The new rule will create new reporting requirements for carriers and implement a single database with failed drug and alcohol test results. As mentioned before, carriers will have to report employees' failed drug and alcohol test results to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and search the database prior to hiring employees. Additionally, carriers will have to search the database annually for their current drivers. They will also be required to report drivers who have been given citations for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration believes that the new rule will better assist companies in their hiring of drivers with clean drug and alcohol-free driving records. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of accidents, and this new rule is an important step in strengthening safety for all those on the road.

If you or a family member has been injured by a driver's inattention or negligence, it is important that you contact a personal injury law attorney. Since 1983, Lieberman, Ryan & Forrest, L.L.C. has been representing clients throughout New Jersey with claims relating to truck, car and motorcycle accidents. Our attorneys will work with you to understand your situation and will pursue full compensation for your injuries. Call us toll free at 877-456-4253 for our Somerville office or 866-350-4939 for our Flemington office.

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