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A crackdown on commercial drivers and impaired operation

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is working to cut down the number of impaired driving incidents among commercial drivers

Residents in New Orleans understand challenges in many ways. From the long recovery from natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina to the risks associated with drunk driving in a city known for its lively entertainment, people who live and work here can be subject to serious consequences at any time. Every motor vehicle crash can be serious but a truck accident offers unique elements that can increase the risk of death, especially when alcohol or drugs are involved.

A look at the numbers

Across the nation, the dangers associated with drunk driving among commercial drivers are seen by looking at records collected and reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Between 2011 and 2012, the number of fatalities associated with accidents involving both drunk drivers and large trucks rose by 86 percent. That compares with a 4.6 percent increase in the number of all drunk driving fatalities.

In 2011, more than 9,800 people died in the United States at the hands of drunk drivers and 43 of those deaths involved large trucks. Just one year later, more than 10,300 people died in all drunk driving crashes and 80 of those deaths involved large trucks.

How can people stay safe?

Tackling driver negligence is a priority for the government. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the federal agency that oversees commercial trucking in the country. It is currently in the process of developing a new database that will keep track of drug and alcohol test failures and refusals for all commercially licensed drivers in the country.

The Commercial Carrier Journal explains that part of the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule includes the requirement for pre-employment drug screening to be conducted for all new hires in driving positions. This also requires that driving job applicants provide their written approval to participate in substance testing.

Any failures of such testing must be communicated to the FMCSA for inclusion in the database. Similarly, any refusals to participate in such testing must also be communicated to the FMCSA for inclusion in the database. In addition, no person can be hired for a driving position after refusing to participate in drug or alcohol testing.

The new database is currently expected to be completed by the early months of 2016.

What else can be done?

Keeping people safe is always the priority. When defensive driving tactics are unable to do that, it is important that New Orleans residents know they can contact a lawyer for help.