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Commercial Vehicles; compliance with drug and alcohol regulations   

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(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person who suffers injury that is proximately caused by the driver of a commercial motor vehicle shall be entitled to recover treble damages from the driver's employer where it is shown both that the driver of a commercial motor vehicle was under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance at the time that the injury was caused and that the driver's employer willfully failed at the time of the injury to comply with any of the requirements of federal law described in subdivision

(a) of Section 34520 of the Vehicle Code in regard to the involved driver.

(b) For the purposes of subdivision (a), "willfully failed" has the same meaning as "willful failure" as defined in paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 34623 of the Vehicle Code.

(c) For purposes of subdivision (a), an "employer" is a person or entity who employs the driver or who contracts with an owner-operator, who meets the requirements set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 34624 of the Vehicle Code, to provide transportation services, and who is required to engage in mandatory substance abuse testing pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 34520 of the Vehicle Code. This subdivision shall not be construed to change the definition of "employer," "employee," or "independent contractor" for any purpose.

(d) Nothing in this section is intended to preclude or affect existing rights.

(Added by Stats. 2001, Ch. 298, Sec. 1.)