REDUCING DRUNK DRIVING AMONG TRUCKERS GOAL OF NEW EFFORT

New York drivers should learn about how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is working to reduce impaired operation among commercial drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains highway accident statistics at the national, state and county level. New Yorkers can look to the NHTSA data to learn a variety of different things about accidents including how many crashes in a specific state involved motorcycles or semi-trailers, for example. They can also get data on the number of traffic fatalities caused by drunk drivers and further drill down to the number of traffic fatalities caused by drunk truck drivers specifically.

In 2011, there were more than 9,800 deaths attributed to accidents involving alcohol across all 50 states. Of those deaths, 43 of them also involved large commercial trucks. That can give a New York driver cause for concern alone but the situation looks worse when factoring in the following year's data that shows more than 10,000 deaths from all drunk driving crashes and 80 from drunk driving wrecks involving large trucks.

The increase of drunk driving truck crashes from 2011 to 2012 was a total of 86 percent. Because of the sheer size and weight of large trucks, any accident that involves them can lead to serious injuries and death all too often.

The government responds

The Commercial Carrier Journal reported on one way that the federal government is aiming to reduce the risk of accidents and deaths that are attributed to drunk driving accidents with commercial vehicles. Known as the Commercial Drivers' Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule, the effort hinges in large part on a database that will be used to collect and report driving data for people who have been granted commercial driving licenses.

Employers and drivers alike will have certain requirements pertaining to the database. These include:

  • Drivers must provide consent in writing when applying for new driving jobs to for potential employers to review their records in the new database.
  • Employers must review all drivers' records before hiring them for driving jobs.
  • Employers must review all hired drivers' records on a yearly basis thereafter.
  • Drivers must agree to take alcohol and drug tests before being hired for any job that involves driving.
  • Employers must report the failure of any substance test or any refusal on the part of a driver to take a substance test.

If a driver does not successfully pass the required alcohol or drug testing when applying for a new job, the employer will not be allowed to hire that driver for any position that requires driving. The employer, however, can hire that person for a non-driving job.

Options for accident victims

When any traffic accident happens in New York, the need for victims to get help is real. Talking to an attorney is one important step in this process.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury