The lack of testing guidelines makes it more difficult to accurately test truck drivers for drug use.
For many drivers, being on the road with big rigs can be scary. These massive trucks are a necessary part of our economy, moving goods from one side of the country to the other — but they can be frightening as they barrel down the road at high rates of speed. When big rig accidents are reported, they often involve very serious injuries and sometimes even fatalities. With this as a reality, it is little wonder that so many people feel nervous about driving on roads with semi trucks.
One concern that many drivers have about tractor trailers is the possibility that the truck drivers may be using illicit substances in order to stay awake to make long haul trucking routes possible. While this may not be a widespread problem, there is certainly an issue with truck drivers driving for too many hours, despite federal laws mandating that truckers take breaks and sleep after a certain number of hours on the road.
In 2015, Congress passed a bill demanding that the Department of Health and Human Services issue guidelines by December 4, 2016, for drug testing truck drivers’ hair samples. This deadline has come and gone, and the Department of Health and Human Services has failed to set guidelines. As a result, the Department of Transportation does not have an approved method for testing the hair of truck drivers for drug use.
Hair tests are considered to be a far better method of checking for drug use than urine tests. This type of test is much more accurate than urine tests, and it is nearly impossible to “cheat” the test. A hair test (either body hair or head hair) can reveal drug use within the last 90 days, and can show the use of various different types of drugs. Through hair drug testing, federal inspectors can get a better picture of whether a truck driver has been driving under the influence of drugs — and determine whether an accident may have been caused by a truck driver’s intoxication.
On May 18, five United States senators wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services and requested action on the hair testing guidelines. Seven Congressional representatives have also requested that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration allow companies to use only hair samples as a method of testing truck drivers for drug use. According to the American Trucking Association, the delay in putting these tests into effect is having a serious impact on the trucking industry.
Of course, potential drug use is just one of the factors that could cause a truck accident. Distracted driving from phone use, looking at a GPS system, or simply not paying attention to the road could lead to a crash. Drowsy or fatigued driving often mimics the effects of drunk or drugged driving, with studies showing that missing even a few hours of sleep can slow a driver’s reaction times and cause similar effects as drinking alcohol. Speeding and aggressive driving can also cause truck accidents.
At the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, our experienced truck accident attorneys understand the complex laws surrounding truck accidents. We will work with you to ensure that you get the best possible recovery for your losses, and will stand by you through each step of the process. Contact us today at 800-333-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free initial consultation. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.