Drunk driving has long been a concern among lawmakers and motorists when it comes to those who operate large trucks for a living. While the majority of truck drivers obey the laws requiring they remain free from the effects of drugs or alcohol while behind the wheel, the reality is that too many truck drivers break the rules when it is convenient for them do so.
For example, some truck drivers use illegal stimulant drugs so that they can remain alert and travel longer distances per day. This is important for many truck drivers, who are compensated on a per-mile basis. However, while stimulant use may temporarily increase a driver’s alertness, it can also have unanticipated consequences, including difficulties maintaining concentration, sudden fatigue, and an altered sense of which risks are acceptable to take while behind the wheel.
Maryland lawmakers understand the dangers drunk truck drivers pose and have enacted strict penalties for any truck driver found to be operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Rather than the .08 blood-alcohol limit applicable to most motorists, commercial truck drivers are subject to the lower limit of .04 blood-alcohol content. This can be as little as one or two drinks in a period of two hours.
A New Form of Drug Testing Is on the Horizon
Due to the dangers of drunk driving and the liability that can arise after a drunk driving accident, trucking companies routinely screen their employees for illegal drug and alcohol use. According to a recent news report, trucking companies will soon be implementing a new type of drug testing for long-haul truck drivers. Rather than the traditional urinalysis, companies will be testing strands of a driver’s hair for traces of illegal substances. Some of the details still need to be worked out, so testing methods can be standardized across the industry, but the new method of testing is expected to be in use later this year.
The new type of testing will be able to look back up to 90 days for past drug use, and it may be able to tell if a driver used a substance multiple times. This is an improvement over the former urinalysis tests, which only looked back an average of seven days. Furthermore, the new testing makes it almost impossible for a driver to obtain a false negative by going through a quick detox regimen.
Have You Been Injured in a Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. In many cases, truck accidents initially seem to be caused by “distracted driving,” but it is possible that the distraction was caused by the side effects of an illegal substance. The skilled truck accident attorneys at the Maryland-based law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience representing truck accident victims, and we know where to look for signs of truck driver intoxication. Even in cases in which the driver was not intoxicated, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call 410-654-3600 today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a dedicated personal injury advocate.
More Blog Posts:
Truck Accidents Caused by Government Agencies, Employees, or Contractors, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published February 24, 2017.
The Dangers of Inattentive or Distracted Truck Drivers, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published March 8, 2017.