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FMCSA Strengthens Trucker Drug Restrictions

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency of the United States Department of Transportation, promulgated a new final rule to emphasize that illegal drug use can bar a truck driver from operating a commercial motor vehicle.

FMCSA regulations are an important safeguard of highway safety in the United States. The FMCSA regulates the baseline qualifications for interstate truck drivers to keep negligent drivers from behind the wheel of large tractor trailers. Now the FMCSA has released a new rule emphasizing the disqualifying effect that illicit drug use can have on a driver’s qualifications.

The new rule states that drivers who use Schedule I drugs (as defined in Controlled Substances Act) cannot drive a commercial motor vehicle, including large trucks and buses. According to the Controlled Substances act, a drug is classified as Schedule I controlled substances because: (a) the drug has a “high potential for abuse:” (b) the drug has “no currently accepted medical treatment use:” (c) the drug lacks an acceptable safety standard for use. Schedule I includes well-known street drugs, including heroin, cocaine, peyote, mescaline, and marijuana.

Schedule I drugs often have a very damaging effect on their users. Schedule drug users may experience hallucinations and an altered sense of reality. The ability of drug users to respond effectively to their environments is also negatively affected. Moreover, Schedule I drugs may have high addiction rates, so users will be compelled to keep altering their sense of reality.

In response to increased knowledge about the detrimental effect of Schedule I drugs, the FMCSA has determined that users of Schedule I drugs cannot operate commercial motor vehicles. The FMCSA rule works in conjunction with existing pre-employment and return-to-duty laws under the FMCSA and the Department of Transportation. For more information about FMCSA regualtions and their effect on Missouri truck accidents, contact a Missouri truck accident attorney for a free legal consultation.