As part of their job requirements, commercial drivers are frequently tested for drug and/or alcohol use. The vehicles that they drive can cause significant damage if involved in collisions. Unfortunately, a truck accident resulting from intoxicated driving is not too uncommon. In fact, there are plenty of people in New Jersey and across the country who have been injured or lost loved ones at the hands of impaired truck drivers.
There are specific federal regulations regarding drug and alcohol use among truck drivers, which came into effect back in 1991. The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, requires that all employees who must have commercial driver's licenses in order to perform their jobs undergo regular drug and alcohol testing. Compliance with this Act is monitored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA).
Employees are granted a certain level of privacy when it comes to test results. However, having regular testing requirements does help deter some drivers from using impairing substances altogether. If a driver is found to be intoxicated, there can be severe consequences for the driver and his employer for failing to abide by federal regulations.
When a truck accident is caused by an impaired driver, the victim or -- in the event of fatality -- his or her surviving family members may have legal recourse. Personal injury or wrongful death claims may be filed against the truck driver and/or his or her employer in an effort to seek compensation for the losses sustained. Proof of impairment will be required in order to establish negligence in court. If this can be provided, a New Jersey civil court may grant a monetary judgment to the victim or the victim's family for any resulting damages.
Source: fmcsa.dot.gov, "Overview of Drug and Alcohol Rules", Feb. 10, 2016