Drug use in the trucking industry

Pennsylvania residents might like to know about the challenges involved in properly vetting commercial truck drivers for drug use. A federal law called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects patient privacy, which may also unfortunately shield drivers from scrutiny from trucking companies. Due to these privacy rules, companies are not notified when a driver is prescribed something that makes driving unsafe.

Illicit drug use is also a problem as trucking companies don’t always receive notice when a driver is detained for drug use. A 2015 report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association found that more than 40 percent of fatally injured drivers were under the influence of illegal drugs in cases where test results were available.

The rules for drug testing are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. New drivers are required to pass testing before operating a commercial vehicle on a public road. If a driver is involved in an accident resulting in injury or death, drug and alcohol testing is required. Random testing can occur even when a driver is off duty, and drivers must act promptly when selected for testing. A delayed arrival could count against a driver.

The FMCSA doesn’t keep track of driver arrests, and federal and state agencies do not always communicate with each other effectively. These agencies also aren’t required to report arrests to other agencies. Drivers are required to inform employers about charges.

Truck accidents could cause serious injuries, and those involved in a crash with a large truck may wish to seek compensation for expenses related to the wreck. Drug use is one example of negligent behavior that may make a trucker liable for a crash. Blood test results might be used to show that a driver was under the influence at the time an accident occurred.