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How truckers' drug arrests go unnoticed by employers

The opioid crisis has impacted commercial truck drivers across Georgia and the U.S. Some drivers who are addicted to legal prescription drugs like Oxycontin eventually turn to illegal drugs like heroin. This has led to documented drug-related truck accidents. To make matters worse, many trucking companies don't realize that a driver has been arrested for drug charges until it's too late.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates drug testing procedures among commercial truck drivers, requiring each driver to undergo drug testing at specific times as well as random drug testing. However, the FMCSA does not track driver arrests. More importantly, state agencies that enforce these rules often fail to communicate with trucking companies. Drug charges may not even appear on a driver's record when motor vehicle agencies fail to relay the information.

A lack of communication between state and federal agencies can also affect the notification process as well as compliance with federal rules. Though individual trucking companies may require their employees to report arrests, many have no way of enforcing such rules. As a result, Congress has ordered the Department of Transportation to create a Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which will contain the records of any FMCSA drug and alcohol violations. Employers will be able to access it for background checks.

A better way to track drug violations, however, may not dissuade drivers from committing negligent or reckless actions behind the wheel. When trucking accidents are caused by drug or alcohol impairment, both the at-fault driver and the trucking company could be held liable. Victims of such accidents can see a lawyer about filing a claim for damages.

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