Trucking Cases

One of our practice areas at the Rick Hall Law Firm is tractor-trailer or trucking cases. One of the most dangerous motor vehicle collisions you could be involved in is with a commercial motor vehicle. Tractor-trailers are very large and the damage and resulting injuries from colliding with one of these vehicles can be very traumatic and could lead to death.

One of the leading causes of tractor- trailer crashes is driver fatigue or inattention due to such fatigue. We are currently handling a case where the driver was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and was taking prescription drugs. Our client suffered significant injuries and we believe the driver could have been under the influence of a drug called an amphetamine. Laws which regulate the trucking industry called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations prohibit the use of controlled substances such as amphetamines.

The problem with driver fatigue is widespread in the trucking industry. This problem has led to other serious problems including the need for truckers to self-medicate in order to stay awake, including the over-use of prescription drugs such as amphetamines. These drugs while ostensibly used to keep drivers awake have numerous adverse side effects such as causing nervousness, restlessness, irritability, and agitation, leading drivers to lose control of these large and dangerous 18 wheel vehicles. The use of controlled substances is generally banned by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Furthermore, the federal motor carrier safety regulations require mandatory drug testing on a random basis and post- accident drug testing if there is a serious collision causing property damage or personal injury. The federal motor carrier safety regulations specifically require the following:

  • 382.303 Post-accident testing.

(a) As soon as practicable following an occurrence involving a commercial motor vehicle operating on a public road in commerce, each employer shall test for alcohol for each of its surviving drivers:

(1) Who was performing safety-sensitive functions with respect to the vehicle, if the accident involved the loss of human life; or

(2) Who receives a citation within 8 hours of the occurrence under State or local law for a moving traffic violation arising from the accident, if the accident involved:

(i) Bodily injury to any person who, as a result of the injury, immediately receives medical treatment away from the scene of the accident; or

(ii) One or more motor vehicles incurring disabling damage as a result of the accident, requiring the motor vehicle to be transported away from the scene by a tow truck or other motor vehicle.

(b) As soon as practicable following an occurrence involving a commercial motor vehicle operating on a public road in commerce, each employer shall test for controlled substances for each of its surviving drivers:

(1) Who was performing safety-sensitive functions with respect to the vehicle, if the accident involved the loss of human life; or

(2) Who receives a citation within thirty-two hours of the occurrence under State or local law for a moving traffic violation arising from the accident, if the accident involved:

(i) Bodily injury to any person who, as a result of the injury, immediately receives medical treatment away from the scene of the accident; or

(ii) One or more motor vehicles incurring disabling damage as a result of the accident, requiring the motor vehicle to be transported away from the scene by a tow truck or other motor vehicle.

Drivers are also required to undergo a DOT physical annually and to be certified to drive by a medical doctor who is registered with the DOT and qualified to conduct such examinations in order to certify a driver. However, the doctor who conducts these examinations is dependent on the applicant-driver to provide a truthful medical history.  In our practice, we have found instances where drivers have not been truthful in reporting their medical history or the drugs they are taking, and therefore have been improperly issued a medical certificate allowing them to operate an 18 wheel tractor-trailer.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a serious collision with a tractor-trailer, it very well could be attributed to prescription drug use by the truck driver. Call us for a free consultation at the Rick Hall Law Firm.


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