Improved oversight of commercial driver records to come

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is creating a new national database to improve tracking of commercial drivers and their substance use or violations.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the agency that oversees commercial driving in the United States. In an effort to reduce the number of trucking accidents caused by the influence of drugs or alcohol on the part of truck drivers in West Virginia and around the nation.

The heart of the effort relies upon a new database into which will go all driver information including drug and alcohol test results, including refusals to participate in such tests, and any convictions for impaired driving offenses. The Commercial Carrier Journal provides details about some ways the database will be used:

  • Employers will consult the database for full record reviews before being allowed to hire new drivers.
  • Employers will consult the database for updated reviews one time per year for every employee.
  • Employers can only hire drivers who pass substance testing.
  • All substance test passes and fails will be recorded in the database as will any refusals to take such tests.
  • All drugged or drunk driving convictions will be recorded in the database.

Drivers who are convicted of impaired driving offenses can only drive commercially again after completed the stipulated process.

A serious problem

The combination of commercial drivers and the use of drugs or alcohol while on duty is a serious problem and too often results in fatal truck accidents such as one noted by KTLA.com in which a drunk truck driver killed another driver and then fled the accident scene. He was later apprehended and charged in the case. A bicyclist was sent to the hospital after being struck by a truck. The driver was charged with DUI according to the Lake County News report.

A multi-vehicle collision that killed a 34-year old man was started in Pennsylvania when a trucker rear-ended a vehicle noted LehighValleyLive.com. The trucker's blood alcohol level was very high and he was also arrested for DUI. The Sandusky Register reported on a commercial driver whose recent DUI arrest was his third.

Dangers in West Virginia

Charleston area residents should be aware of the risks they face on a daily basis. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 44 percent of all traffic deaths in Kanawha County in 2012 resulted from accidents involving either large trucks or the presence of alcohol. That is higher than the statewide rate of 41 percent.

Additionally, Kanawha County shared the top spots for the most number of deaths from both drunk driving and truck accidents. Seven people each died in Kanawha and Berkeley Counties in collisions affected by alcohol and four people each died in Kanawha and Mercer Counties in truck crashes.

What can be done?

One of the most important things that can be done when these accidents occur is to get legal help. Working with an attorney can offer the best chance of receiving the right level of compensation.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury