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Drug & Alcohol Use by Truck Drivers

It is well known that driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs greatly increases risks of being involved in a traffic accident. Being impaired can affect muscle coordination, judgment, and reaction time – all crucial skills for anyone behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. When an impaired driver is behind the wheel of a massive commercial truck that can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, risks of causing harm to nearby motorists and pedestrians greatly increase.

Because drug and alcohol use presents an elevated danger on public roadways, the state of Nevada and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforce strict laws and regulations within the trucking industry. These include the following:

Lower BAC Limits

Drivers of commercial vehicles are subject to lower blood alcohol content (BAC) limits than other drivers. Under Nevada law, it is illegal for a commercial driver to operate a vehicle with a BAC level of .04% or greater. The legal limit for other drivers is .08%.

Federal Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has long regulated drug and alcohol use and testing of motorists who drive commercial trucks or buses. These regulations clarify who is subject to testing, when they are tested, and in what situations they are tested. Employers are required to test drivers in certain situations, including pre-employment, randomly throughout the year, and after accidents, among other situations.

Testing positive for drugs or registering a .04% or greater BAC will result in a truck driver being immediately removed from duty. To be reinstated, they must complete a successful return-to-duty process and substance abuse counseling. Refusing a drug or alcohol test will result in the same consequences. Employers also have a responsibility to adhere to testing regulations, record test results, and educate drivers about the importance of remaining drug and alcohol-free.

The Rights of Injured Victims

Victims injured in truck accidents may have the right to file personal injury claims to hold at-fault truck drivers and/or trucking companies liable for the damages they cause. At Shook & Stone, our legal team explores all circumstances surrounding an accident to prove fault and liability. This includes determining whether drivers were intoxicated or impaired at the time of an accident and whether they had a history of drug or alcohol abuse.


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