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When are Florida commercial vehicle drivers tested for drugs?

Most Floridians are likely well-aware that accidents involving large commercial vehicles, such as semi-trailers, can have devastating consequences. Because of the size and weight of these vehicles, a collision involving one and a smaller vehicle can mean that the safety features of the smaller car don't have as much effect, as the impact force is so great as to create huge amounts of structural damage. As this blog has previously touched on, even worse can occur in cases where the truck is carrying some form of hazardous material.

Further, the chances of an accident can increase when Florida motorists are dealing with commercial vehicles, as their size and weight means that they tend to have reduced sightlines and worse maneuverability characteristics. Because of this, it is especially important that truck drivers be alert and aware at all times.

Taking this into consideration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FCMSA) has promulgated rules with regard to the drug testing of commercial vehicle drivers. For example, before being hired to transport goods in a commercial vehicle, a prospective driver must pass a drug test. Also, commercial vehicle drivers must submit to random testing throughout any given year. Finally, employers must test drivers after a commercial vehicle accident, in certain circumstances. A driver must be tested after any crash involving a fatality. Tests must also be performed if a commercial driver is cited for an accident requiring medical treatment somewhere other than the accident site (like a hospital), or if the physical damage to a vehicle requires a tow.

While there are some safeguards in place to prevent drunk or drugged drivers from operating commercial motor vehicles, no system is perfect, and some drivers still engage in risky negligent behavior. Further, sometimes employers fail to abide by the rules, whether out of ignorance or for other reasons. Given the potential consequences of a commercial vehicle accident, holding such employers and drivers legally accountable is one way to not only compensate the injured party, but hopefully to prevent future accidents by incentivizing adherence to the safety regulations.

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