Far too many truck accidents are caused every year by drivers under the influence of drugs, especially those like methamphetamines which are specifically taken to help drivers stay awake for long periods of time. When the effects of these drugs wear off, the driver may feel extremely fatigued and may fall asleep at the wheel. This sets up not only the truck driver but everyone he is sharing the road with for a catastrophic accident with deadly results.
For years, truck drivers have been able to conceal records of their drug and alcohol use. This was because of a loophole in the law that failed to provide a system through which potential employers could look at an applicant’s drug and alcohol use records. Fortunately, that will change soon.
Beginning in January 2020, all trucking companies will be required to check if the potential truck driver recruit they are planning to hire has a history of drug and alcohol use on the job. They can do this by going through the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse which contains these records.
Until now, drivers who were fired from a trucking company after failing a drug test could simply get a job at another trucking company. Companies were not provided the mechanism through which they could check these records. Now, however, trucking companies have been authorized to ask for a “limited query” of the records in the database. This database will contain records of truck drivers who have tested positive for not just alcohol but also cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, marijuana, and heroin. Any truck driver who has tested positive at .04 percent for alcohol will have his record included in the database.
If the “limited query” reveals information that indicates that the applicant has a drug or alcohol test failure on his record, the carrier is then authorized to ask for a “full query” which should provide more answers to questions related to the driver’s violation.
This database will soon prove itself to be invaluable to trucking companies as it will contain not just records of drivers who have failed these drug and alcohol tests, but also records of drivers who have refused to take the tests. It will also contain actual evidence that the driver was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time of operating the truck. All this is very important data that will, and should, impact a trucking company’s hiring and recruitment practices.
The trucking industry as well as safety advocates and trucking industry attorneys in Atlanta and around the country have long been in favor of a rule that would give trucking companies access to the kind of vital information that is important for them to make safe, and informed recruitment decisions. The closing of this loophole will make that possible.
The Atlanta trucking accident attorneys at the Katz Personal Injury Lawyers represent persons injured in trucking accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, call a lawyer at our firm and discus your eligibility for a legal claim for damages. Learn how you may be able to hold a number of parties besides the truck driver and the trucking company liable for your losses.