Articles Tagged with commercial truck

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Untitled-design-3-300x300A recent insurance journal headline reads, Positive Drug Tests In US Workforce Highest In Two Decades. According to the article, positive drug test rates increased another 4.6% in 2021. The rate shows a 31.4% increase from its all-time low just 10 years ago. In isolation, those statistics are troubling. Let’s talk a little more about the potential impact of increasing employee drug use on accidents and injuries. An increase in drug impairment means an increase in dangers among employees on worksites. It also means an increase in dangers to the public, especially on our roads and highways. Today, I’ll address a couple areas of concern as well as one area of potential long-term good news.

Do Changing Marijuana Laws Impact Workers Compensation Claims? And Other Personal Injury Claims?

I’ve written several times about the potential impact of changing marijuana beliefs and laws on work-related accidents. In Alabama, our work comp law bars claims where (1) the worker was impaired; and, (2) that impairment proximately caused the accident. That second requirement – the impairment proximately caused the accident – is likely to be a key issue in more future cases.

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Blackwell Law Firm - Personal Injury AttorneysI recently wrote a post asking the question, Is Drug Use Among Truck Drivers Increasing? I discussed several issues in my article. To be fair, during the recent covid pandemic, law enforcement agencies across northern Alabama reported increased DUI arrests for all drivers. Non-commercial drivers. So, it’s likely that impaired driving increased during the pandemic among all drivers.

As I discussed in my prior post, the US Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) now has a clearinghouse database for information related to commercial drivers with alcohol or drug issues. That’s great. We need a safety database where potential drivers who fail pre-employment drug screens or who test positive for impaired driving after an accident, can be listed. We definitely do not need a patchwork system where a bad driver can simply go elsewhere to be rehired.

The clearinghouse has only recently become fully mandatory for reporting. That’s why I concluded in my prior post that the data is too limited to determine whether impaired driving is really increasing.

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