Commercial truck drivers in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country have many regulations to which they have to adhere. However, it is not unusual for truck drivers’ drug arrests to be overlooked.
A report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association revealed that in 2015, more than 40 percent of the drivers that were fatally injured for whom test results were available had tested positive for illegal substances. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which is a federal law that safeguards the privacy of patients, is often used to stop trucking companies from being notified when certain medications are prescribed to truck drivers that may impair their ability to operate a truck safely.
The opioid emergency, which is being caused by an increase in prescription opioid addictions, also is having an effect on the trucking industry. Truck drivers that receive legal prescriptions for Percocet, Oxycontin and off-brand opiate drugs and become addicted to them are turning to heroin when they are no longer able to get more prescriptions.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates drug tests for commercial truck drivers, and they are enforced by the state. Drivers are required to undergo drug tests as a condition of employment and after an accident has occurred. They also are subject to randomized drug testing if there is cause to suspect they may be under the influence, as a condition of returning to duty and as a follow-up after they have returned to work.
An attorney that practices personal injury law may pursue financial compensation on behalf of clients that have been injured in commercial truck accidents. A truck driver may be held liable for negligent driving behavior, and the trucking company also may be liable for hiring an unqualified truck driver.