There is currently a debate over whether truck drivers should be asked to fill out voluntary prescription drug forms and keep them with them while they are driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, is asking for public input on this issue to help them decide whether to proceed or not. Public input from everyday drivers, such as yourself, is important, as you share the roads with these trucks everyday. If the drivers operating these big trucks are doing so in a harmful manner, you or your family could be harmed while doing everyday tasks. But, before you can give your input, you need to educate yourself on the topic. Here are a few frequently asked questions you may have about the topic, as well as the answers.
What Are the Benefits of Asking Drivers to Fill Out Voluntary Drug Forms?
Federal truck regulators are wanting truck drivers to fill out these voluntary forms for a number of reasons. The first reason is because it may help a doctor determine whether a truck driver is medically qualified to drive. Truck drivers must undergo yearly physicals to meet 49 CFR 391.41 laws. Unfortunately, many truck drivers either forget or fail to disclose to these physicians what medications they are taking and in what dosages. Knowing what medications a driver takes can help a physician determine what medical conditions they may have and whether they should be driving large vehicles for extended periods of time. If a driver fills out this form and keeps it with them, they can frequently update the medicine they are taking and write down any they forgot to write down initially. Then, when they have their physical, they can bring the form with them and give the doctor a better picture into their physical health.
The second advantage to asking a truck driver to voluntarily fill out a drug form and keep it with them is that it can help law enforcement if there is an accident. If a driver is involved in an accident, and the officer thinks drugs may have played a role in the accident, it can be hard to know which drugs to test the blood for. Having this log can make it easier on law enforcement.
How Could This Form Impact a Truck Driver Involved in an Accident?
Truck drivers are currently required to fill out log books detailing how many miles they drive per day, when they take breaks and how many hours of sleep they get when driving over multiple days. This can help to show whether a lack of sleep led to an accident. Likewise, proponents of having truck drivers fill out these forms feel that keeping a log book of the medications a driver is taking, the dosage and the time they take the pills can be useful if the driver is involved in an accident. It can help show the mental state of the driver, what medications may still have been in their system and affected their driving abilities, and can even be used to statistically track medications that doctors may not yet realize affect drivers. If a driver is involved in an accident, the form could help to show the driver was under the influence or help to show the driver wasn't.
How Could This Form Help a Truck Accident Attorney?
If a truck driver is found to be at fault for an accident that resulted in injuries, the truck driver, company they are employed by and owner of the truck they are driving may all be held responsible for the injuries, medical expenses and pain and suffering of those in the vehicle they hit. Unfortunately, trying to prove that the truck driver was at fault can be challenging in some cases. A truck accident attorney needs witness and evidence to help prove their case. Having a form that lists all of the medications a truck driver is taking can help a personal injury lawyer determine if the driver should have been behind the wheel or if their driving abilities were impaired. Knowing what medications a driver takes and the name of the driver that prescribed them can also help the attorney when it comes to subpoenaing medical records. These medical records may prove that a driver hid a medical condition, which can be important when it a personal injury truck accident claim goes to trial.
Educating yourself on voluntary drug forms can help you form an opinion that you can then share with the FMCSA. This helps you have a voice when it comes to the roadways that you travel on each and every day. For more information on how you can influence this change, contact a truck accident attorney.