In Tennessee, non-commercial drivers are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent or more. Drivers of commercial vehicles, however, are held to much stricter standards and are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration is 0.04 percent or greater. This means a commercial driver should not have any alcohol of any kind before getting behind the wheel. While drunk driving truck accidents in Memphis are rare, they do happen, and the result is often catastrophic.
When you experience harm due to an intoxicated truck driver, reach out to the Law Office of David E. Gordon to speak with a trusted truck accident attorney who can help you understand your legal options for moving forward.
Trucking Industry Regulations on Alcohol
Drunk driving is dangerous for any motorist. The stakes become even higher for truckers due to the extreme height and weight and difficult maneuverability of commercial trucks. An intoxicated Memphis commercial driver is more likely to leave their lane and crash head-on into another motorist and less likely to leave enough distance between his truck and the motorist in front of him to make a quick stop and avoid a rear-end crash.
Federal trucking regulations establish strict guidelines for alcohol use and possession by drivers, as well as testing standards for trucking companies. A trucker cannot use alcohol within four hours of going on duty or being physically in control of a commercial vehicle. A driver also may not possess wine, beer, or distilled spirits while on duty or while operating a commercial truck.
Motor carriers cannot permit their drivers to operate a commercial vehicle if it appears by their conduct or appearance that they have consumed alcohol within four hours. Any driver who appears as such must be placed out of service for a 24-hour period.
Are Truck Drivers Regularly Tested for Drugs and Alcohol?
Trucking companies must complete a pre-employment screen of a driver for alcohol and controlled substances before the driver performs his first safety-sensitive function for the carrier. They must request all alcohol test results greater than 0.04, all positive controlled substance test results, and all refusals to be tested from a driver’s prior employers for the two-year period preceding the application for employment. The trucking company does not have to perform a pre-employment alcohol test if the driver has been tested in the last six months with a result of less than 0.04 percent, and the carrier ensures that the driver’s prior employer has no record of a violation of the alcohol use prohibition within the last six months.
If a motor carrier reasonably suspects that a driver has violated the alcohol use prohibitions, they must require the driver to submit to testing. The reasonable suspicion can be based on the driver’s appearance, behavior, speech, or body odor. Additionally, commercial drivers in Memphis and throughout the state are required to take a blood alcohol test immediately following any crash. This is extremely important evidence for an injury claim as it helps prove that a commercial driver was operating their vehicle under the influence and establishes liability.
Rely on a Memphis Attorney For Help With a Drunk Driving Truck Accident Claim
Truck industry regulations set strict rules regarding alcohol use and employer testing. When a trucker or the carrier they work for violates these laws, serious wrecks can take place. Let the team at the Law Office of David E. Gordon help you determine what steps to take and what legal options you have after a drunk driving truck accident in Memphis. Call today.