It is about time that a move was made to determine if big rig truckers are using drugs. The idea is to reduce the number of fatalities on the road.
This is actually good news for all vehicle drivers who spend a fair amount of time on America’s highways. Let’s hope this practice gets implemented across the country quickly. One well known and reliable trucking firm in Washington is implementing drug screening on their new hires by using hair samples. They want to ensure the drivers do not get into accidents during their first few months of employment. The hair testing will be a companion test to the mandated Department of Transportation urine testing for drugs.
Statistically speaking, new truck drivers that start with a firm tend to have an accident within their first three to four months on the job. After that time frame, the risk of being in a crash drops. Hoping to avoid big rig accidents, and the possibility of large payouts if their corporation is sued, the company is planning to combine the urine test with a hair test, largely because the hair holds onto drugs far longer than the body does when it eliminates drugs out via urination. The net result they hope to achieve is hiring safer drivers.
Apparently this program was started in July 2011 and by all reports, it has shown beneficial results. To date, more than 170 drivers have already been screened using both tests. Out of that 170, the hair testing caught 10 potential drivers that tested positive for drugs. If it were not for the hair testing, they would have been hired.
Of interest is that many truck driving candidates voluntarily drop out of the hiring process once they find out they need to submit a hair sample for drug testing. When one looks at the bigger picture of keeping the roads safe, this can only be a good thing.
It is also good news to hear that there are even further tests being implemented by U.S. motor carrier companies, which include running drug tests for extended opiates and sleep apnea screening. Many carriers are also starting to add electronic onboard data recorders to track what their employees are doing while they are on the road in the company truck.
Should car drivers be less worried about being on the road with 18-wheelers? Perhaps so, but that is not to say they should not still take great care when in the presence of big rigs. Any accidents with a big rig and a smaller vehicle will still not have a good outcome, so sharing the road is still an important concept.
If you have been in an accident with an 18-wheeler, you need to contact a skilled Austin personal injury lawyer right away. Do not wait. The accident scene needs to be preserved and the plaintiff needs to know how to move forward and recover compensation for their injuries. An Austin personal injury lawyer with experience dealing with trucking accidents will know what to do immediately.