Travelers on West Virginia roads and highways frequently encounter tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles. It can be intimidating, but nothing may compare to the devastation of an accident involving a large truck. If travelers in passenger vehicles suffer injuries or lose loved ones in truck accidents, it may compound the suffering to learn that a trucker was impaired by drugs or alcohol. Drivers may be surprised at how often truckers operate their rigs under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration started a program called the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. An employer who hires commercial driver’s license holders, asks about violations of its CDL employees or does eligibility assessments for applications for truck driving jobs is required to register with the clearinghouse. These employers then report to the clearinghouse when one of their truck drivers violates the rules for drug and alcohol use. The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse provides information across the states regarding truckers who have violated these rules.

Before the existence of this agency, the states had no efficient way of communicating with each other about drivers who violated substance abuse rules. A trucker who lost a job in one state because of a substance abuse violation could seek employment driving a truck in another state. However, the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse shares its information across the country. Additionally, the agency recently released to the public a report revealing that nearly 8,000 truck drivers nationwide had tested positive for drugs or alcohol, either through random testing or following a moving violation.

As intimidating as it is to have a tractor-trailer approach under normal circumstances, an impaired truck operator adds immeasurable risk. Those in West Virginia who suffer injuries or lose a loved one in truck accidents understand the uncertainty such injuries may bring. Many turn to a skilled attorney for guidance and advice about the most appropriate course of action for seeking compensation.