There are unintended consequences of increased access to drugs and alcohol. The unintended consequences of increased access to drugs and alcohol are increased accidents and fatalities. We will state the cause of these increased accidents and fatalities bluntly. These are dangers to the public resulting from legislation that allows easy access to drugs in particular marijuana.
There are also dangers to employers who have employees operating in safety-sensitive positions. We have stressed before the importance of employers identifying those job positions that are safety sensitive. Employees operating in these safety-sensitive positions have an increased potential of injuring fellow employees and members of the public if impaired on drugs and or alcohol.
Employers are responsible for the conduct of their employees. If an employer knew or should have known an employee could engage in behavior that results in injury, an employer can be held liable for any injuries caused by that employee.
The risk of this liability can be managed by implementing an adequate system of drug and alcohol testing on both a pre-employment basis and a random basis. In our opinion
an employer can defend drug testing in these instances if they are diligent about documenting the link between a job’s essential functions and the need to not be impaired while executing the job’s essential functions.
Statistics from a recent article issued by the national safety council indicate more than 42,000 people died in vehicle crashes in 2020. This is an 8% increase over 2019 and the first jump in four years. To put this in perspective and to account for the fewer amount of miles driven in 2020 due to the COVID restrictions, the article states the fatality rate per 100,000,000 miles driven spiked 24%.