Truck Driver With A History Of Substance Abuse Causes Highway Accident


Trucking Expert

This case involves a trucker who fell asleep while driving on a major highway and rear-ended a woman. At the time of the accident, the trucker had a blood alcohol content of 0.11. Subsequent drug testing showed consistent marijuana use as well. Further investigation revealed the trucker had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and had caused numerous accidents over the course of his 7-year trucking career without warnings or suspension. It was alleged that the trucking company failed to remove an unfit driver from the road on multiple occasions. An expert with experience managing trucking companies was sought to advise as to what steps the employer might have taken to correct his behavior before the accident and to opine on the steps that need to be taken to ensure that their employees are not a danger to others on the road.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please describe your background in trucking and the experience you have managing drivers.
  • 2. How have you dealt with drivers with a history of drug abuse and/or a history of accidents?

Expert Witness Response E-044035

During my career as a fleet manager, I have managed large fleets of 3,000+ vehicles including light-duty cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles. I have worked with many commercial vehicle fleets as a consultant and have taught general safety and department of transportation classes through the fleet management association. Department of transportation regulations only require that a carrier to determine the motor vehicle report shows the driver is properly licensed and/or qualified to operate their vehicles. Qualifications can be based on company policy or federal standards. Best practice is to have a motor vehicle report point system to measure driver safety, but specific standards for motor vehicle report review are not required under the department of transportation standards. State points systems apply toward disqualifying a driver. Company policies usually check at least three years, even for non-commercial drivers. But some go farther back to five years. Some state laws require commercial drivers to be enrolled in the department of motor vehicles pull notice program which notifies participating employers when an employee’s driving record is posted with a conviction, accident, or department of motor vehicles action. It identifies drivers who have a negligent operator status, have been convicted of vehicle code violations, or whose licenses have been suspended or revoked. The trucking company in question should have been looking at a three-year motor vehicle report at least every 12 months and they should have received a pull notice when the infractions noted occurred. Action should have been taken to address the infractions, for example, another motor vehicle record review, remedial driver training, probation, or dismissal.

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