Zero tolerance marijuana use.
Trucking companies cannot change zero-tolerance policies regarding drivers’ use of marijuana because it is still illegal under federal law and United States Department of Transportation regulations. Because recreational marijuana is now legal in Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia, it may have some negative implications for drivers who use it during “off hours.” Federal law prohibits both medical and recreational consumption and drivers who uses marijuana legally could be at risk of termination if they test positive for the drug. Alternately truck drivers can have a few drinks and be cleared to drive the following day as alcohol does not remain in the blood as long as marijuana.
Random drug tests.
Drivers are now being called to stop for random drug testing while on a job. If a truck driver with a commercial driver’s license is not compliant with CDL state or federal regulations leaving them in a situation where the CDL should have been suspended or revoked by the State of Florida due to the use of marijuana, and an accident occurred during this period, there could be issues with the State.
If your marijuana use was lawful, it doesn’t mean you can’t be convicted of a marijuana-related DUI. Officers cannot detect drug levels the same way they can detect alcohol during sobriety tests, but they can measure faculty impairment. Marijuana DUI penalties in Florida are severe and depend on how many times you have been in violation of the law.
First offenders could get a fine up to $1,000, 6 months in jail and license suspension from 6-12 months. Second offenders the fine is doubled at up to $2,000, up to 9 months in jail and a 5 year license suspension along with possible probation and psychological evaluation. Third time offenders are fined up to $2,000, go to jail for up to one year, and are on criminal probation with possible psychological evaluation. All marijuana convictions in Florida have 50 hours of community service, vehicle impoundment from 10 days or more, and the installation of ignition interlock devices. Severe penalties are incurred after a third offense.
Insurance could be compromised for commercial carriers and drivers who are caught smoking weed and driving. Commercial Motor Vehicles require additional liability insurance under Florida Statute 627.7415. Florida Statute 627.7415.
Damage recovery through insurance and legal action.
Accident victims can file a personal injury claim in Florida, but under Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law, accident costs incurred will be paid primarily from a claim against the injured person’s own insurance company to cover non-serious injuries. Extensive personal injuries, damage and wrongful death often result from accidents involving tractor trailers due to their increased size and weight over that of a passenger vehicle and could meet the serious injury threshold requirement, impacting monetary settlements between parties.
Determination of fault.
If a truck driver fails a marijuana drug test, and their employer knew they were still operating their truck resulting in an accident, negligence may be more easily proven against the driver and the trucking company.
Contact an attorney.
A personal injury attorney at the Pappas & Russell, P.A. will be able to assist with the burden of collecting and analyzing the data related to a truck accident that will determine fair compensation for injury and property damage.
Pappas & Russell, P.A.
213 Silver Beach Avenue
Daytona Beach, Florida 32118
Phone: (386) 254-2941
Fax: (386) 238-0350