Beginning this year, more truck drivers who are using controlled substances may be taken off the roads. Starting Jan. 1, companies that employ commercial truck drivers are required to increase their minimum annual random testing rate from 25% to 50%. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which has long sought this new regulation, says the increase in testing means that over 2 million drug tests will be done this year alone.
The increased testing must be done any year following a year where the average positive test rate across the board was at least 1%. The overall rate of positive drug tests for those with a commercial drivers license (CDL) has been steadily rising over the past few years — from .07% in 2016 to 1% in 2018.
The new regulation doesn’t change the required frequency of random alcohol testing by employers of truck drivers. It remains at a minimum of 10%.
To further get impaired truck drivers off the roads, the FCMSA has set up a new clearinghouse where positive drug and alcohol tests and test refusals must be reported. Employers are also required to check the database before hiring any trucker. Of course, it will likely take some time before significant changes result from the clearinghouse, since it will only include data reported from this month forward.
Not surprisingly, those in the trucking industry aren’t pleased with the increased time and expense that the new regulation and the clearinghouse will create. However, carriers that don’t comply with the law may find themselves at greater risk of serious liability if one of their drivers injures someone — or worse — in a truck accident.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an accident caused by a truck driver, it’s essential to find out what individuals and entities can and should be held liable. An experienced attorney can provide that guidance and help you seek the compensation you deserve.