Improved tracking of commercial driver impairment

A new system designed to reduce impaired driving among commercial drivers will be set up by the federal government and implemented by early 2016.

Missouri residents understand the risks associated with sharing the roads with many large vehicles. Accidents can happen any day for any number of reasons. When commercial vehicle accidents are caused by the impairment of drivers, many people can be left to wonder how such things can happen.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration realizes the dangers associated with commercial drivers operating large vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is seeking new ways to reduce the risk of that happening. A new system known as the Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is currently being developed with the intention of reducing this risk and improving safety for all people on the roads.

What are the components of the clearinghouse?

According to an article in the Commercial Carrier Journal, a database will be set up to collect and report information about commercial drivers including drug or alcohol violations as well as any refusals to participate in drug or alcohol testing. Employers will be required to obtain written consent from drivers to check their records which must be done before making any new hire as well as on an annual basis thereafter.

For drivers who have had violations, a process to return to work will be identified and monitored in the system. Also included is a method for clearing incorrect information from the database. The goal is to have the entire system up and running by late 2015 or potentially early 2016.

How common are truck accidents in Missouri?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's data from 2012 shows the serious nature of large truck accidents in the state and in Cass and Jackson Counties. Jackson County actually tied with St. Louis County for the most number of deaths from truck collisions that year and the lives lost in those Jackson County accidents accounted for 7.6 percent of the state's total.

Additional statistics include:

  • Fatalities from truck accidents comprised over 11 percent of all motor vehicle deaths in Missouri.
  • Vehicular fatalities involving alcohol comprised almost 34 percent of the state's total.
  • Nearly 8.7 percent of the state's total truck accident fatalities occurred in Cass and Jackson Counties.
  • Almost 9 percent of all vehicular deaths in Cass and Jackson Counties resulted from truck crashes.

Jackson and St. Louis Counties each lose seven lives in truck accidents. Green County lost five. The fatality count in other counties ranged between zero and four.

How people can get help

The new clearinghouse being set up by the FMCSA is a great step forward in improving safety on area roads. However, accidents are still able to happen. When they do, contacting an attorney is always recommended as the best way to get help.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury