When it comes to commercial truck accidents, the aftermath can be devastating. In addition to the physical and emotional toll, a legal battle often follows.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a commercial truck accident in Texas, it’s important to understand your rights and the legal obligations that commercial truck drivers have.
Texas Law Regarding Testing Truck Drivers After an Accident
One crucial question often arises after a commercial truck accident is whether the driver must take a drug test. In Texas, the answer is a resounding yes.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) requires that commercial truck drivers involved in accidents that result in severe injury or death undergo post-accident drug testing.
Federal Regulations About Testing Truck Drivers
FMCSR Section 382 deals with the Federal Regulations on drug testing truck drivers and related matters.
The purpose of this requirement is to ensure the safety of the public and to hold commercial truck drivers accountable for their actions. Drug use can impair a driver’s judgment, reaction time, and ability to operate a vehicle safely.
By testing for drugs after an accident, authorities can determine whether drug use played a role in the crash and take appropriate action.
It’s worth noting that drug testing is not limited to commercial truck drivers involved in accidents with serious injury or death. The DPS also has the authority to test any commercial truck driver involved in an accident, regardless of the severity of the injuries. This means the driver may still be subjected to drug testing even if the accident only resulted in minor injuries or property damage.
If a commercial truck driver tests positive for drugs after an accident, it can have serious legal implications. The driver may face a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
The Importance of Drug Testing After a Commercial Vehicle Accident
In Texas, the answer to whether commercial truck drivers must take a drug test after an accident is a resounding yes. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has implemented this requirement to ensure the public’s safety and hold drivers accountable for their actions.
The use of drugs can impair a driver’s judgment, reaction time, and overall ability to operate a vehicle safely. By conducting drug tests after an accident, authorities can determine if drug use played a role in the crash and take appropriate action.
Scope of Drug Testing
It’s important to note that drug testing is not limited to commercial truck drivers involved in accidents resulting in serious injury or death. The DPS has the authority to test any commercial truck driver involved in an accident, regardless of the severity of the injuries.
This means the driver may still be subjected to drug testing even if the accident only resulted in minor injuries or property damage.
What is a Field Sobriety Test?
A field sobriety test is a series of physical, balance, and coordination tests to determine if a driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol. Law enforcement officers typically administer these tests at the scene of an accident or during a traffic stop.
A field sobriety test assesses a driver’s ability to perform basic tasks that require balance, coordination, and cognitive function. Some standard tests include:
Walk and Turn
The driver is asked to take several steps in a straight line, turn around, and walk back. The officer looks for impaired balance, inability to follow instructions or loss of focus.
The driver is asked to stand on one leg for a specified period. The officer observes signs of swaying, hopping, or using arms for balance.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
The officer uses a pen or small object and asks the driver to follow it with their eyes. Nystagmus (involuntary jerking of the eye) can indicate impairment.
The driver is asked to touch their nose with their finger while their eyes are closed. Impaired drivers may have difficulty with coordination and accuracy.
These tests are not foolproof and can be affected by factors such as fatigue, medical conditions, or nervousness.
However, they provide law enforcement with valuable information to determine if further testing, such as a blood or urine test, is necessary.
Look for an attorney who understands the regulations dealing with truck drivers and drug testing.
Legal Implications of Positive Drug Tests
If a commercial truck driver tests positive for drugs or alcohol, criminal charges will likely be filed. Also, if the driver injured anyone, they could pace a personal injury lawsuit. With drug or alcohol use, punitive damages may be sought.
In addition, drug testing may also be required if there is evidence of drug or alcohol use by the driver or if the accident involves a hazardous materials release.
It is important to note that drug testing is time-sensitive after an accident. The FMCSA regulations state that drug and alcohol testing should be conducted within a specified time frame, usually within 32 hours for alcohol testing and 72 hours for drug testing.
Failure to comply with these regulations can result in severe consequences for the driver and their employer.
If you are a commercial truck driver involved in an accident in Texas, following the FMCSA regulations regarding drug testing is crucial. Failure to do so can lead to legal issues and jeopardize your license.
Talk with one of the best truck accident lawyers in Houston if you suspect drug or alcohol use in your accident.
Motor Carrier Drug Testing Requirements with Employment
Motor carrier drug testing is essential to protecting the public from drivers controlling vehicles weighing as much as 80,000 pounds. Trucking companies are subject to strict federal regulations relating to drug testing procedures and protocols.
These rules are outlined in the federal motor carrier safety administration regulations designed to standardize required drug testing across the trucking industry and prevent truck accidents.
If a trucking company does not follow the law, it may be liable for the negligent hiring of a truck driver.
Drug Testing Procedures
Motor carriers have testing requirements for various stages of employment of the driver. These stages are pre-employment, random testing, reasonable suspicion, post-accident testing, and return to duty testing.
Before hiring a new driver, motor carriers must conduct pre-employment drug testing. This requirement helps screen persons with a history of substance abuse or current problems.
Trucking companies must also conduct random drug tests on current drivers. This requirement helps deter drug and alcohol abuse by drivers hoping to keep their employment.
Reasonable Suspicion Tests
If a manager observes behavior indicative of drug or alcohol use or abuse, they have the authority to request a drug test of the driver.
As stated above, post-accident testing is mandatory when the accident causes serious injuries or fatalities.
Why You Need an Expert Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been involved in a crash with a commercial driver and suspect drug or alcohol use by a driver, call top rated truck accident attorney at Baumgartner Law Firm for a free consultation.
Get a commercial vehicle accident attorney who understands the trucking rules and motor carrier liability insurance.
Finding a Top-Rated Personal Injury Attorney in Houston
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident and suspect drug use was a contributing factor, it’s essential to consult a top-rated personal injury attorney in Houston.
An experienced attorney can help you through the legal process, gather evidence, and fight for the compensation you deserve. When searching for a personal injury attorney in Houston, consider the following factors:
Look for an attorney with extensive experience handling personal injury cases, especially drug or alcohol-related accidents. Attorney Greg Baumgartner has won millions of dollars from truck accident lawsuits for clients.
Research the attorney’s reputation and read client testimonials to ensure they have a track record of success. Our Houston commercial vehicle accident lawyer has been preeminent rated for decades and is undefeated in truck accident lawsuits.
Ensure the attorney has the resources necessary to investigate your case and build a strong argument thoroughly.
Choose a responsive truck accident lawyer who keeps you informed throughout the legal process—a law firm with positive feedback from actual clients with 18-wheeler accident cases.
Find the attorney you feel is genuinely concerned about you and your family.
Call Baumgartner Law Firm, a leading Houston personal injury law firm, for help!
6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX, 77069