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Fewer Tennessee Trucking Accidents if Positive Drug Tests Followed Truckers from Job to Job

Road Safe America joins the American Trucking Association and other safety minded organizations in advocating for a central clearinghouse to monitor heavy commercial vehicle drivers who test positive for drugs and alcohol.

Historically, drivers that test positive for drugs and alcohol hop from state to state and job to job to avoid detection. Our Knoxville personal injury lawyers know these kind of drivers should not be behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound truck. As long as such job-hopping is permitted to continue, motorists will be at high risk for Tennessee trucking accidents involving drunk drivers.

The Safe Roads Act, S. 1113, was introduced by Senators Pryor, Snowe, Nelson and Wicker in May 2009. It would establish an all-inclusive national clearinghouse for positive alcohol and drug test results. The passage of this bill would undoubtedly make our roadways safer by reducing the risk of drunk drivers operating heavy commercial vehicles.

In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 1,041 large truck crashes each day. Nearly 12 people every day die in large truck accidents and an additional 246 are injured. In 2008, approximately 7% of all fatal crashes involved a large truck on Tennessee roads. It was reported that 2% of large truck drivers involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.

Alcohol and drug testing is a fact of life in the trucking industry today. All truckers that have a commercial driver license (CDL) — whether owner-operators with a CDL or drivers employed by motor carriers — are subjected to drug and alcohol testing.

A study done by the Insurance Institute for Traffic Safety, as reported by Drug Library, found that 15% of all truckers had marijuana, 12% had non-prescription stimulants, 5% had prescription stimulants, and 2% had cocaine in their systems. Some truckers believe that marijuana use is safer than drinking, but studies show that effects on reaction time after smoking can last up to 24 hours.

A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study of crashes involving large trucks found that prescription drug use was a contributing factor in 28.7% of all crashes sampled and over-the-counter drugs were a contributing factor in 19.4% of crashes. Side effects from drugs can include: dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision and confusion of which any could cause an accident.

If you or a loved one is injured or killed in atrucking accident in Tennessee, contact Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights with our Knoxville injury lawyers and Maryville accident attorneys. Call (877) 472-5657.

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