Are truck drivers supposed to be alcohol tested immediately following a Florida truck accident?
Author: Attorney Jason Macri
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted a vast set of rules which govern the actions of commercial truck drivers throughout the country. These rules are extensive and not only govern the actions of the truck driver, but also the employer. Any time an operator of a commercial vehicle is involved in a serious accident, an extensive investigation must take place by law. Clearly, the physical and mental state of the truck driver is almost always in question.
Section 382.303 of the FMCSA dictates the rules regarding post-accident testing. This section states that “as soon as practicable following an occurrence involving a commercial motor vehicle operating on a public road in commerce, each employer shall test for alcohol for each of its surviving drivers.” The section goes on to point out that those who must be tested are either drivers who were “performing safety-sensitive functions with respect to the vehicle, if the accident involved the loss of human life” or if the driver “receives a citation within 8 hours of the occurrence under State or local law for a moving traffic violation arising from the accident.”
Section 382.303 goes on to point out that the accident must involve “bodily injury to any person who, as a result of the injury, immediately receives medical treatment away from the scene of the accident” or “one or more motor vehicles incurring disabling damage as a result of the accident, requiring the motor vehicle to be transported away from the scene by a tow truck or other motor vehicle.” In these situations, the employer must test the employee for alcohol consumption.
Though the rules are lengthy and sometimes confusing, all that the general public needs to know is that a truck driver will be tested for alcohol if he or she is involved in an accident that involved the loss of human life. The truck driver will also be tested for alcohol is he or she receives a citation within 8 hours of the accident, if the accident involved an injury to anyone which required that person to get medical attention away from the accident scene. The driver will also be tested if he or she is involved in an accident which required any of the vehicles involved to be towed away from the scene.
The FMCSA rules are clearly intended to protect the public. Failure to abide by these rules may result in violation of Federal law. If a person is injured in a trucking accident, they should call a lawyer experienced in the area of trucking accidents. That lawyer will be familiar with the Federal rules governing truck drivers and employers and will certainly be able to apply those rules to your case. If it becomes clear that these rules have been violated, your lawyer may be able to use this violation to your advantage.