Reducing drunk driving among truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is implementing a new program designed to crack down on drugged or drunk driving among commercial drivers.

Nationwide, concern about drunk driving accidents as well as accidents involving large tractor-trailers or other commercial vehicles continues to be high. This is with good reason as statistics repeatedly show the deadly impact such collisions can have. In Connecticut, these concerns are equally valid for all the same reasons.

How serious is the problem in Connecticut?

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from the year 2012 show that large truck accidents or drunk driving accidents claimed far too many lives in Connecticut.

Detailed information includes:

  • Statewide, almost 25 percent of all traffic fatalities involved alcohol.
  • Deaths from both truck crashes and crashes involving drunk drivers accounted for nearly 42 percent of all vehicular deaths in the state.
  • In New Haven County, over 32 percent of all traffic fatalities involved alcohol.
  • Another 10 percent of the county's automotive deaths occurred as a result of truck collisions.
  • In all, alcohol or large trucks were involved in 42.85 percent of New Haven County's vehicular fatalities.

New Haven County led the state with the most number of lives lost in large truck accidents. The county also had the second highest death toll from drunk driving accidents in the state.

The government's response

In an effort to help states save lives, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is creating a new program that will track drug and alcohol testing, violations and other data for all commercially licensed drivers.

Referred to as the Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, it will rely largely on a comprehensive database to house all driver records. Employers will be required to review candidates' records prior to making any new hires while also conducting annual reviews on an ongoing basis. People who own and operate their own trucks must team up with consortiums or other approved entities to ensure fair testing, reporting and record reviews.

Drivers who do not voluntarily submit to testing will be barred from driving and only able to work in limited capacities and will have their test refusals entered into the federal database. Test failures are also logged into the system. Any drivers convicted of drunk or drugged driving offenses can participate in return-to-duty procedures clearly outlined by the program.

Public safety is the goal

The FMCSA's institution of the new clearinghouse database is one effort to improve safety on the roads for all residents. However, accidents can and will still happen. In these situations, affected persons and their family members are urged to contact an attorney for help with compensation and justice.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury