Commercial drivers that operate tractor-trailers may cause horrific trucking accidents when they operate their enormous vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. In order to protect other vehicle occupants, are strict regulations that pertain to alcohol and drug use by commercial drivers. These rules are designed to keep alcohol-impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel of a big-rig. Nonetheless, both truck drivers and trucking companies sometimes disregard these regulations with tragic results.
A quasi-zero tolerance rule applies when it comes to consuming alcohol in the hours immediately proceeding coming on duty or driving a tractor-trailer. The driver of a commercial vehicle may not consume alcohol within 4 hours of being on duty or operating a tractor-trailer or other commercial vehicle. A trucking company not only has an obligation to prevent a driver from driving if the driver appears to have consumed alcohol within 4 hours of coming on duty, but the trucking company also is obligated to place the driver out of serve for a mandatory 24 hour period.
A truck driver also cannot report for duty or remain on duty and perform a safety sensitive function if the driver has a .04 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is half the legal limit for non-commercial drivers. Operation of a tractor-trailer is among the tasks that are prohibited as a safety sensitive function if a driver has a BAC of .04 percent or above. Commercial carriers also have an obligation to keep drivers off the road if the driver has a BAC of .04 percent or higher. If the driver has a BAC below .04 percent but higher than .02 percent, the driver may not engage in a safety sensitive function for 24 hours after the alcohol test.
Trucking companies are also required to conduct a pre-employment alcohol screening unless certain limited circumstances apply. A new hire may not be permitted to engage in a safety sensitive function unless the driver submits to a pre-employment drug and alcohol screening and tests with less than a .04 percent BAC and also tests negative for controlled substances. The trucking company is not required to conduct a pre-employment alcohol screening if the driver has had a negative test within the last six (6) months, or the driver was subject to random screening for the last twelve (12) months with no violations within the previous six (6) month period. If the trucking company does not conduct a pre-employment drug and alcohol screening under these exceptions, it must obtain a copy of the prospective driver’s records from the previous drug-testing program.
While this is hardly a comprehensive discussion regarding all regulations that pertain to alcohol use by a truck driver, these regulations show the importance of understanding the laws, regulations, and industry practices that affect truck drivers in trucking accident claims. If your or someone you love has been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, our experienced trucking accident lawyers have helped many people just like you. At the Nahon Firm, PLC, we will fight to help you obtain the financial compensation you need to rebuild your life. We invite you to call us today and speak with a Nashville trucking accident attorney to discuss the details of your case at (615) 324-2000.
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