Changes to hiring process for commercial drivers

Changes to the screening process for hiring commercial drivers will begin in 2016 with the goal of reducing drunk and drugged driving accidents.

Most residents in and around San Diego, California are aware of the dangers associated with drunk driving. From news reports of people killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver to personal experiences of these tragic crashes, everyone knows that these situations are serious.

Accidents caused by drugged drivers are of equal danger and can involve prescription drugs as well as illegal drug substances. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with drug companies now to find better ways to find out which medications can cause driver impairment.

Sometimes, it is not impairment by drugs or alcohol alone that impacts the severity of a crash. Accidents involving drunk drivers operating large commercial vehicles pose their own unique sets of risks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the government entity responsible for managing commercial traffic in the U.S., is looking to change some of the pre-hire procedures for commercial drivers in an effort to reduce both drugged and drunk driving accidents caused by these drivers.

A look at the new pre-hire procedures

The Commercial Carrier Journal offers a window into what the new process for hiring commercial drivers will look like. The center of the changes involves a database that is currently in development by the FMCSA. It is expected to be complete in the first part of 2016.

To this database, commercial driving employers will report the results of all job candidates' drug and alcohol test results. These tests must be taken before drivers can be hired and both companies and individuals who hire commercial drivers must check the database for all candidates' records before making final hiring decisions. Once a driver has been hired, the employer will also be required to review records on a yearly basis.

Those drivers who do not want to be subject to drug or alcohol testing can choose not to participate but employers will not be allowed to hire them as drivers. These job candidates, however, can be hired for any non-driving job positions.

How many accidents are caused by impaired truck drivers?

In 2011, 43 of the nation's drunk driving fatalities resulted from crashes involving impaired truck drivers. The following year, that number rose by 86 percent to 80 fatalities. The nation's increase in all drunk driving fatalities was roughly four percent between 2011 and 2012.

Help for accident victims

San Diego County residents who have been involved in or had loved ones involved in accidents caused by negligent commercial drivers deserve help and compensation. Working with an experienced attorney is always recommended for these people.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury