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Truck driver drug arrests go unnoticed by trucking companies

California motorists might be surprised to learn that when truck drivers are taken into custody after being suspected of drug use, the trucking companies they work for may not be notified. Further, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, illegal drugs played factors in at least 40 percent of accidents that left drivers fatally injured in 2015.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does require drug testing for some drivers under specific circumstances. For example, new CDL drivers are required by law to be drug tested before they can be permitted to operate a commercial vehicle on public roads. After a fatal truck accident, drivers must also be tested for drugs or alcohol. Further, drivers may be required to undergo random drug testing or if there is a reasonable suspicion that a truck driver is using drugs.

Part of the reason some truck drivers slip through cracks is haphazard communication between federal and state agencies. While the federal agencies set the rules for truck drivers and trucking companies, it is up to the states to actually enforce the rules. There is no federal requirement that different states must inform each other or the trucking companies that a drug or alcohol arrest has taken place. The FMCSA also does not track DUI or drugged-driving incidents among truck drivers.

A multi-vehicle crash involving a commercial truck and passenger vehicles can result in serious or even deadly injuries. If it is found that the truck driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, an attorney representing an injured victim might choose to file a lawsuit against both the driver responsible for the crash and the trucking company that hired the driver, seeking appropriate compensation.

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Andrew E. Bakos & Associates, PC
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