Truck Driver Drug and Alcohol Use in Baltimore, MD

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is always dangerous, but it’s particularly frightening when the driver is controlling an 80,000-pound truck. Truck accidents have a higher risk of causing severe injury or death than car accidents, and there are strict regulations designed to prevent these serious incidents.

Despite required testing, mandatory suspension for violations, and other trucking regulations, many truck drivers still get behind the wheel while under the influence.

If you’ve been involved in a truck accident in Baltimore, MD, a personal injury attorney can help. Since 1977, WGK Personal Injury Lawyers has handled countless commercial vehicle accident cases. We will investigate whether drugs or alcohol played a role in your crash and help you hold the responsible parties accountable. 

Contact our law office at (410) 837-2144 to schedule a free consultation with a Baltimore truck accident lawyer. 

How WGK Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You After a Baltimore Truck Accident Caused By Drug or Alcohol Use

How WGK Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You After a Baltimore Truck Accident Caused By Drug or Alcohol Use

A truck accident in Baltimore, Maryland, can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating. If your life has been changed forever by someone else’s decision to operate a deadly commercial vehicle while under the influence, they should be held accountable. 

WGK Personal Injury Lawyers has represented truck accident victims since 1977. We have more than 100 years of combined experience in personal injury law, with tens of millions recovered for our clients. Our law firm consists of three generations of Baltimore personal injury lawyers. We are committed to giving you the aggressive representation you deserve. 

When you hire a Baltimore truck accident attorney at our law firm, you can count on us to: 

  • Complete an independent investigation into your crash
  • Work with experts to prove your damages and causation
  • Gather evidence to show the truck driver was under the influence
  • Identify all parties who may be liable
  • Negotiate on your behalf to seek maximum compensation
  • Litigate your case in court if required

Contact a Baltimore personal injury attorney at our law office today for a free initial consultation. We will listen to your story and discuss what we can do to help you.

Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations After a Truck Accident in Baltimore, MD

The trucking industry is highly regulated, with federal and state laws governing hours of service, drug and alcohol testing, and more. 

All CDL drivers operating commercial vehicles are subject to Department of Transportation alcohol and drug testing. Drivers must be tested when they are hired, randomly while employed, and after an accident that causes serious bodily injury or disabling property damage. 

The Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse records drug and alcohol violations by CDL holders. Employers must perform a clearinghouse query when hiring a new CDL or commercial license permit (CLP) holder and every year for all CLP/CDL holders they employ. Violations must be reported to the clearinghouse.

When a truck driver has a drug or alcohol violation, they must complete the return-to-duty (RTD) process. Until then, they cannot operate a commercial motor vehicle or perform other safety-sensitive duties. 

Drivers cannot drink alcohol within four hours of operating a commercial vehicle or going on duty. Truck drivers can be charged with DWI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04, half the legal limit for motorists with a standard driver’s license. This lower threshold applies to CDL holders even when they are driving passenger vehicles. 

How Common Is Drug and Alcohol Use in the Trucking Industry?

In 2022, there were 394,604 drivers and 91,667 owner-operators registered to the clearinghouse. In 2022, there were 71,238 violations reported. 

This included the following drug and alcohol violations: 

  • 59,902 positive drug tests
  • 9,531 drug test refusals
  • 1,045 cases of actual knowledge of a drug violation
  • 942 violations with a BAC of 0.04 or higher
  • 360 alcohol test refusals
  • 268 cases of actual knowledge of an alcohol violation

Most positive drug tests and refusals were related to pre-employment and random testing. Positive alcohol tests and refusals were usually found through random tests, reasonable suspicion, actual knowledge, or post-accident testing. 

In 2022, there were 2,634 positive post-accident drug tests and 128 positive post-accident alcohol tests reported to the clearinghouse. Drug violations reported to the clearinghouse in 2022 were up 18% from the previous year. 

Positive drug tests were responsible for 82% of reported violations. The most common substances identified were marijuana (59.6%), cocaine (16%), methamphetamine (8.1%), and amphetamine (7.8%). 

Maryland ranked 20th for reported violations based on the number of registered employers and violation-issuing jurisdictions.

Truck drivers face a challenging job that often means long hours on the road alone. Research indicates that drug and alcohol use may be quite common to cope with loneliness and depression and to fight fatigue. Marijuana legalization may have also contributed to increasing rates of drug use. 

The use of stimulants like cocaine and amphetamine is associated with drivers who are younger, have longer routes, and drive at night. While the intention is often staying awake and productive, amphetamine use is estimated to increase the risk of a fatal crash by five times

Who Could Be Liable For an Accident Involving Truck Driver Alcohol or Drug Use in Maryland?

When a drugged or drunk truck driver causes an accident, multiple parties may share liability. 

The truck driver may be liable if they caused the accident. Evidence that they were driving under the influence can establish negligence per se, which reduces your burden of proof to recover compensation. 

The driver’s employer can likely be found liable for your accident through vicarious liability. Trucking companies can be responsible for their drivers’ negligence. For the employer to be liable, the driver must have been acting within the scope of their employment. The trucking company can also be liable if they were negligent and caused or contributed to the crash. 

A trucking company has a duty to:

  • Conduct pre-employment screening
  • Hire competent drivers
  • Provide adequate training and supervision
  • Conduct drug and alcohol testing
  • Enforce the FMCSA hours of service regulations

Unfortunately, trucking companies are often lax in their duties. Drivers may be pressured to exceed hours of service to meet deadlines. 

When a trucking company is negligent and fails in its duties, it can be held responsible for the injuries that result. 

Note that not all truck drivers are employees; many are owner-operators.

Contact Our Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers For a Free Consultation After a DUI Crash

Truck accident cases are always complex, even when they involve drug or alcohol violations by the truck driver. An experienced lawyer will conduct a careful investigation into your crash to determine who can be held accountable. 

Do you suspect drugs or alcohol were involved in your truck collision? Contact WGK Personal Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation with a Baltimore truck accident attorney. We will help you understand your legal options and how we can help you pursue the compensation you need.