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Will Hair Follicle Drug Testing Reduce Rear-End Trucking Accidents?

When you are involved in a rear impact trucking accident, you can suffer devastating permanent injuries because of the enormous force caused by a motor vehicle that weighs up to 80,000 pounds. When an 18-wheeler rear-ends a small passenger vehicle that has stopped for a stop sign, red light or traffic congestion, driver inattention and impairment by an intoxicating substance constitute the most common causes of these crashes. Because many trucking companies use a compensation system based on the miles traveled, commercial drivers have a strong incentive to disregard hours of service (HOS) rules that are designed to reduce the risk of fatigue based trucking accidents. Sometimes commercial drivers resort to use of stimulants like methamphetamine so that they can drive longer. Our Miami trucking accident lawyers know that while driver logbooks are theoretically designed to provide a deterrent to HOS violations, drivers can frequently manipulate these records.

Because of the significant risk associated with a stoned or drunk driver operating a tractor-trailer, trucking companies are required to conduct pre-employment screening of new hires. Commercial carriers also are required to conduct random drug testing during an employee’s tenure and after a trucking collision. Unfortunately, reliance on urine testing as opposed to hair follicle testing compromises the effectiveness of substance abuse screening. Legislation is currently pending in Congress (H.R. 3403) to authorize pre-employment hair follicle tests as opposed to urine testing. The impetus behind the bipartisan bill, sponsored by Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Rick Crawford (R-AR), is that under current drug and alcohol screening rules many truck drivers pass their pre-employment urine test but fail random drug testing after they have been hired. We urge each an every reader, their families and friends to contact their elected representatives to require this testing. If passed lives will be saved and many will avoid serious injury.

Urine testing provides information regarding use of intoxicating substances over only a narrow period of time because the test typically becomes unreliable within a few days or weeks after use of a substance depending on the drug. Hair follicle testing may reveal drug use over a six month period or longer. While a driver with drug addiction might successfully avert detection by abstaining from using drugs for a few days prior to a pre-hiring drug screening, this form of cheating would be unsuccessful if hair follicle tests weregiven prior to hiring a truck driver. Urine tests also can be more easily defeated using countermeasures ( things that people take to mask or hide their drug usage) than hair follicle testing.

While the passage of this legislation could reduce easily preventable trucking accidents like those when a tractor-trailer smashes into the rear of a passenger car, the law also contains a glaring loophole. While the proposed law would replace pre-employment drug and alcohol urine screening with hair follicle testing, random drug testing could be based on a urine test if it was the type of drug and alcohol screening test administered during the hiring process. We should insist that our legislators make hail follicle testing mandatory every six (6) months to insure that our highways have safer drivers.

Our Our law firm has handled dozens of Florida big-rig accidents resulting in death and significant injury. We have recovered from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for these claims. If you or a loved one is injured in a trucking accident, we invite you to contact the South Florida law office of Greenberg Stone and Urbano today. For over 120 collective years, we have aggressively represented the victims of trucking accidents across South Florida. Our commitment to excellence in providing legal services has earned us an “AV” rating from Martindale Hubbell, and it is why we have been asked to join Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. Moreover, the Miami Herald voted us as one of the top-rated South Florida law firms, and, we have earned the title of “Superlawyers,” designating us as being among the best lawyers in America. We want to put this dedication to work for you, so call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an initial consultation either in our main office, your home or hospital, or at one of the offices were we see client’s by appointment.

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