Improved safety for drivers the goal of new program

The federal government is introducing a new system that is aimed to reduce the number of instances of drugged or drunk driving among truckers.

Drivers in Illinois understand the inherent risks when they get behind the wheel of their vehicles. Dangers abound and include environmental factors or unsafe road conditions. The actions of other drivers can be of particular concern especially when those drivers are impaired by drugs or alcohol. Making situations even more dangerous can be the addition of large and heavy tractor trailers or other commercial vehicles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration acknowledges that drugged or drunk driving among truckers can dramatically reduce public safety. It is for this reason that the FMCSA is setting up a new program by which drivers can find it harder to be behind the wheel of commercial vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

The Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will be comprised of a database that will house driving records for commercial drivers. An accompanying program will outline requirements for reporting test passes, failures or refusals as well as convictions for drunk driving or other related impairments.

Prior to being hired for new positions, drivers must authorize in writing the review of their online records or else face limited working abilities. Annual record reviews are to be conducted thereafter by employers. Stipulations will provide guidelines for owner-operator reviews and tracking as well as return-to-duty policies.

Dangers to Illinois residents

To fully understand the risks that Illinois residents face, a look at the records collected and reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can help. For the year 2012, more than 46 percent of all vehicular fatalities in the state resulted either from drunk driving accidents or truck accidents.

More detailed information includes:

  • Statewide, 33.5 percent of all traffic deaths were impacted by alcohol and nearly 13 percent resulted from truck accidents.
  • In Madison County, alcohol was a factor in 37.5 percent of all vehicular fatalities.
  • Alcohol-related and truck crashes accounted for 42.5 percent of the state's deaths in automobile accidents.
  • Madison County had the third most number of deaths from alcohol-related accidents in the state.

Only Will and Cook Counties lost more lives in drunk driving accidents than Madison County in 2012. Around the state, 321 people died in drunk driving accidents all together and another 122 perished in accidents involving large commercial trucks.

When justice is needed

The new action by the FMCSA may well help to reduce the number of drunk driving truck accidents but it may not be able to eliminate them all together nor can it eliminate all truck accidents. For this reason, residents should be aware of their ability to seek help if involved in a collision with a truck. Working with an attorney who understands the nuances of these claims can go a long way toward receiving the right level of compensation.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury