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Truck Driver Pre-Employment Screening Changes

On behalf of Soloff & Zervanos, P.C.

Philadelphia drivers can be informed about changes in the works to the pre-hire screening process for commercially licensed drivers.

People who drive regularly in and around Philadelphia know how dangerous even the most routine trip can be. Whether on a busy freeway or a local surface street, the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident is ever present. People who text and drive, choose to operate their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or who are otherwise reckless or negligent cause many serious consequences for innocent victims.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the agency that monitors all commercial transportation in the United States and they are tackling head-on the issues that surround impaired driving among people with commercial driving licenses. Their efforts are directly aimed at reducing drunk driving and drugged driving accidents caused by truckers and other commercially licensed drivers.

As reported by the Commercial Carrier Journal, the FMCSA will be initiating changes to the screening process to be followed when hiring drivers for new positions. Emphasis will be placed on drug use as well as on alcohol use as both can impair driving function. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently working with makers of pharmaceutical drugs to find better ways to highlight which medications can have this effect on drivers.

What is the risk to Philadelphia residents?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records point to an increase in the number of people killed by truckers operating vehicles while intoxicated in 2012 over 2011 by as much as 86 percent. The number of people killed in all drunk driving accidents rose from 2011 to 2012 by just over four percent. With a far greater increase in drunk driving fatalities from truck accidents than from all accidents, the need for change is clear.

What will be required during pre-hire screenings?

Both employers and employees will find themselves subject to some requirements during the pre-hire screening process. Potential employees will be asked to consent via writing to participate in testing for both drugs and alcohol, knowing that the employers will be required to report all of the test results to a federal database.

This database will be accessible by all commercial driving employers. These employers will not be allowed to hire new drivers without first checking their records in the database. Employees can make the choice to refuse testing but they will not be able to drive commercially and can only be hired in non-driving capacities.

Help for Philadelphia residents?

People in Philadelphia deserve to feel safe when on the roads, whether as drivers, passengers or pedestrians. Anytime an accident occurs involving a commercial vehicle, contacting a lawyer should be one of the first steps that victims take.