In the fall of year 2005, at 12:40 AM, a 47-year-old male semi-truck driver began his delivery route hauling a refrigerated trailer loaded with 23,000 pounds of produce. His first delivery was approximately 265 miles away. After two hours and twenty minutes, he exited the interstate 23 miles from the start of his route. At the end of the exit ramp he attempted to turn right onto a 4-lane highway. He missed the turn and drove straight across the highway through a guardrail; the truck became airborne, and crashed into an embankment exploding into flames. An unidentified motorist driving behind the semi called emergency response services. Local police and fire departments arrived at the scene and discovered the cab and trailer burning. The coroner arrived while the firefighters extinguished the blaze. After extinguishing the fire, emergency personnel removed the driver’s body and the coroner declared the driver dead at the scene. The death certificate stated the cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma/motor vehicle accident, and that carbon monoxide possibly contributed to death. Toxicology test results showed the driver had a 0.6% blood level of cocaine, a presumptive presence of benzodiazepine, and a carbon monoxide level of 38% at the time of the crash.

Following are recommendations to prevent similar incidents from occurring:

Recommendation No. 1: A “reasonable suspicion” drug testing policy should be implemented and enforced by the company if a trucker is suspected to be under the influence of drugs. The reasonable suspicion testing policy should include drug testing and the suspension of the trucker until the results of the tests are known.

Recommendation No. 2: Comprehensive new-hire prescreening and after-hire random drug testing policies should be implemented and enforced for substance abuse.

Recommendation No. 3: A statewide database containing commercial driver positive drug/ alcohol test results should be identified.

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A summary of this case is available as the additional file listed below.

05KY074_Summary.pdf (14 kB)
Case Summary