Drunk driving and Driving Under the Influence of drugs, prescription drugs and alcohol is a leading cause of serious injury and fatal truck accidents. In today’s day and age, all drivers recognize the dangers of consuming alcohol in excess before driving. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that can impact a person’s ability to safely operate any type of machinery. People who are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances can have slowed reaction times and an impaired ability to process information. Intoxicated individuals also often have an impaired decision-making process that makes mistakes and errors significantly more likely.
Drunk driving as a professional truck driver holding a CDL is especially reprehensible for a variety of reasons. To start, one should never engage in work duties when under the influence of alcohol. But even more concerning is that fact that accidents involving trucks are even more likely to cause severe injuries due to the enormous size and weight of the truck.
If you have suffered a serious injury due to an intoxicated truck driver, the personal injury lawyers of Reiff & Bily’s The Truck Accident Team may be able to fight for you. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation, please call 800-896-6173 today.
What Is a DUI for Commercial Drivers?
While commercial drivers holding a CDL are well-aware that different standards apply for DUIs and DWIs, many individual motorists are not aware of this fact. Therefore, they may not realize that a crash caused by a “buzzed” trucker was actually a drunk driving crash.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set a recommended standard for intoxication of commercial truck drivers. This standard sets a legal blood-alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent. In Drivers found with a BAC in excess of this number are subject to DUI charges and an array of penalties. The recommended .04 percent BAC is roughly half that standard BAC limit for commuters and other regular drivers. In additional to the more stringent BAC standard, FMCSA rules also prohibit truckers from operating a vehicle within 4 hours of their last drink.
However, states are free to implement more stringent BAC standards for CDL drivers. For instance, Pennsylvania is one state that has elected to implement an even more stringent BAC standard. In the state, drivers with a BAC in excess of .02 percent can be held liable for operating a commercial motor vehicle while intoxicated. Consuming just one beer can place a driver over this limit.
Are Commercial Drivers Drug and Alcohol Tested?
Commercial drivers are generally subject to drug and alcohol testing at various stages of their employment and in the pre-employment process. Drivers are subject to both random and suspicion-based alcohol and drug testing.
While drug testing programs can prevent some instances of drunk driving, these programs cannot catch all truckers who would drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol every time. For instance, drivers are often on the road for days or weeks at a time. The truck driver may be beyond the reach of reasonable testing procedures for an extended time period. In other circumstances, truckers may attempt to game the testing system. They may start to use other drugs that are not included in standard testing regimes. Other truckers may look for “tells” that indicate a test is coming and make arrangements to defeat the test.
Types of Injuries Caused by Trucking DUIs
An intoxicated driver can cause an array of accidents depending on the factors and circumstances. For one, an intoxicated driver may be more likely to lose focus and attention. He or she may even drift off to sleep while behind the wheel. In other drivers, the use of alcohol may result in more aggressive driving behaviors. The trucker may drive far beyond the speed limit, engage in seemingly random lane changes, and other reckless and dangerous behaviors.
When DUI accidents involving a truck occur, the injuries are often severe. This is because an intoxicated driver is likely to drive at greater speeds. Thus, when a crash does occur, more violent forces act on the occupants of the vehicles. In other situations, an intoxicated driver may fail to stop accelerating or realize that he or she even needs to take corrective action following a crash. These subsequent events and collisions can cause additional severe, if not fatal, injuries.
Work with Trucking Accident Lawyers After a DUI Crash
If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries in a trucking crash caused by an intoxicated trucker, the attorneys of Reiff & Bily’s The Truck Accident Team may be able to provide aggressive and strategic representation. We can fight to recover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages you have experienced. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, please call our law firm at 800-896-6173.