Trucking regulations are an important part of my job as a St. Louis semi truck accident attorney. Trucking companies and truckers are required to follow certain safety rules, but after many accidents, an investigation shows that they outright ignored or bent those rules. That’s why I was pleased to see an Oct. 23 article from TheTrucker.com announcing that a “strike force” from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has taken action against 84 trucking and bus companies for violations of drug and alcohol safety rules, including failure to test drivers and employing drivers who failed a drug test. The sweep also took away the commercial drivers’ licenses of 77 drivers. The FMCSA regulates interstate trucking as well as interstate bus and school bus companies.
According to the article, FMCSA regulators spent ten days in September examining the drivers’ drug and alcohol safety records. One goal of the program was to find drivers who simply jump from company to company to avoid taking drug and alcohol tests or federal reporting requirements. The drivers caught in the sweep lost their commercial licenses right away and will probably be fined, TheTrucker.com said; they may also face other civil penalties. The trucking and busing companies face enforcement actions that could include fines or even a shutdown notice. Both the companies and the drivers will have a chance to contest the violations and the amounts of any fines assessed.
As a Missouri tractor-trailer accident attorney, I am delighted to see federal regulators taking action against companies and drivers who are in flagrant violation of drug and alcohol safety laws. As I wrote here in August, a government study found that more than 1,000 trucking companies ordered by the FMCSA to shut down for safety violations simply changed their names and kept operating, suggesting that the FMCSA has a lot of work to do to clean house. Skipping drug and alcohol testing — or intentionally employing drivers with records that should make them unemployable — may be attractive to trucking companies that want to save a few bucks, but those laws are in place to protect the public. Nobody should control a ten-ton, 65-mph vehicle while drunk or high. When a substance-abusing driver hits a smaller vehicle, the result is likely to be a highly preventable tragedy.
Ironically, trucking companies may not actually save money in the long run by skipping alcohol and drug tests. Like all drivers, truck drivers are legally responsible for taking reasonable care on the road; their trucking companies may also be responsible for hiring competent and drug-free drivers. When they fail in these duties, victims may hold them legally liable for the harm they cause, with a southern Illinois big rig accident lawsuit. Carey, Danis & Lowe represents families that have lost a loved one or suffered a terrible injury in a truck crash that was no fault of their own. With these lawsuits, they can recover the cost of treating the very serious injuries a crash can cause, lost income and compensation for their injuries, while penalizing truckers and trucking companies for serious legal violations.
If you or a loved one was hit by a truck driver who should never have been allowed on the road, Carey, Danis & Lowe can tell you more about your legal options. To set up a free evaluation of your case, please call us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 or contact us online.