Can impaired driving among truckers be reduced?

The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse launched by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration intends to reduce impaired driving among truckers.

Video footage from a law enforcement officer's dashboard camera released just before Christmas of 2016 brings to light a scary reality that Colorado residents should not have to face but sadly do.

NBC explains that the camera captured footage of a semi truck being driven in an erratic manner on a highway. The vehicle failed to stay in its lane while moving down the highway, driving onto the shoulder and into the adjacent lane as well. The driver was stopped and asked to get out of his truck. Upon doing so, he fell to the ground. Eventually it was discovered that he was driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.28 percent . Additionally, there was an open container of vodka in the truck.

New database aims to curb impaired truck driving

It is situations like the above that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wants to crack down on and ideally eliminate. This year, the FMCSA released its Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse for this purpose.

The Clearinghouse is essentially a highly robust database that will be used to collect and house a variety of data on people with commercial driving licenses. Employers will be required to check applicants' records in the Clearinghouse before finalizing a new hire for a driving position. Even after a driver is hired, the employer will review the Clearinghouse records on an annual basis.

Drug and alcohol violations and test results included in database

Essential data to be housed by the Clearinghouse will be any violations related to drunk or drugged driving on the part of a commercially licensed driver. The results of all pre-employment substance testing will be included in the database. Additionally, a driver's refusal to submit to a test will also be noted and visible in any report.

The Clearinghouse is a national database and therefore data from one state will be able to be seen by employers in any other state. In addition to trucking employers, agencies that issue commercial driving licenses will also have access to the Clearinghouse. These agencies must review a driver's record in the database before issuing any new license or before renewing a license.

An ongoing problem that requires vigilant efforts

While the Clearinghouse may well help reduce the number of truckers who operate vehicles while impaired, it will not be in full effect until 2020. KOAA News reports that other avenues are being explored to help keep people safe. One of these includes using self-driving technology in tractor trailers.

Also important is seeking legal help after an accident occurs. Talking with a lawyer may help Colorado residents to understand their best options for seeking compensation.