Commercial Truck Driver Accident

Do Commercial Truck Drivers Take A Drug Test After an Accident?

Mar 6, 2024 | 18-Wheeler Accident

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When navigating the aftermath of a trucking accident in Texas, understanding the regulatory landscape surrounding drug and alcohol testing for commercial truck drivers is crucial. The immense size and momentum of an 18-wheeler make any accident potentially devastating. Therefore, the sobriety of truck drivers is not just a matter of legal compliance but of public safety. Yet, contrary to what many might assume, Texas commercial truck drivers are not automatically required to submit to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) drug test immediately following an accident.

When Are Truck Drivers Tested?

The procedure for drug and alcohol testing post-accident involves several key steps and conditions. Initially, law enforcement officials responding to the accident scene will assess the situation to determine if there’s a suspicion of intoxication. This suspicion could be triggered by various indicators such as the odor of alcohol, slurred speech, or erratic behavior.

If suspicion arises, the officer may administer a field sobriety test (such as walking in a straight line). Failure of this test leads to more definitive testing methods like blood, breath, or urine tests. If these subsequent tests confirm intoxication, it results in the driver’s immediate citation and arrest. Observing evidence of intoxication and reporting it to the police can support a personal injury lawsuit. This can significantly strengthen your claim accident claim.

Trucking Company Responsibilities

It’s not only law enforcement that plays a role in testing for substance abuse post-accident. FMCSA regulations stipulate situations where the trucking company itself must conduct drug and alcohol testing on the driver, including when an accident results in:

  • Injuries requiring medical treatment beyond first aid, paired with a police citation,
  • Vehicle damage necessitating towing, coupled with a police citation, or
  • Fatality, regardless of a citation being issued.

The testing must be conducted as swiftly as possible following the accident. However, there’s a time limit: no requirement for alcohol testing exists after eight hours. For a controlled substance, this window extends to 32 hours. Should a trucking company fail to conduct the required tests within these timeframes, they must provide the FMCSA with a detailed explanation for this oversight.

The Consequences of DUI for Truck Drivers

The seriousness with which DUI offenses are treated is reflected in the stringent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits. These limits are —0.04%, half of the 0.08% limit applicable to most drivers. Any truck driver who surpasses this limit faces immediate suspension from driving duties. Furthermore, to regain their commercial driving license involves a rigorous process, including evaluation and treatment for substance abuse, passing subsequent drug or alcohol tests, and agreeing to follow-up testing.

Given the severe impact of truck accidents, having skilled legal representation is essential. A knowledgeable lawyer can navigate the complexities of your case. They ensure that all relevant drug and alcohol testing protocols were followed and leveraging any breaches to strengthen your claim. Moreover, an experienced attorney can help illuminate the broader context of your accident. They can take into account the driver’s sobriety, the trucking company’s adherence to FMCSA regulations, and any resulting liabilities.

Choosing a dedicated and experienced lawyer like Walker Texas Lawyer can significantly influence the outcome of your case. With a comprehensive understanding of the specifics of trucking law and a commitment to advocating for his clients, Walker can provide the expert guidance and robust representation needed in the wake of a trucking accident.

For those impacted by such an incident, reaching out to Walker Texas Lawyer ensures that you have an advocate prepared to fight for your rights. He is committed to securing the compensation you deserve. Whether contending with the immediate aftermath of an accident or navigating the complex legal landscape that follows, having a seasoned professional by your side can make all the difference.

CONTACT HOUSTON’S PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER, WALKER TEXAS LAWYER FOR HELP

For more information, contact Houston’s accident law firm of Walker Texas Lawyer by calling (713) 552-1117.

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