Truck Driver Intoxication
Collisions involving 18 wheelers and other large trucks don’t happen as frequently as other car wrecks. Unfortunately, when they do occur, crashes involving large trucks can be catastrophic.
As with other collisions, driver intoxication is a major cause of truck accidents. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious crime. It is even more serious, when the intoxicated driver is operating a large truck. When an intoxicated truck driver causes a collision, the driver is subject to civil liability in addition to the criminal penalties associated with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 4,000 fatal truck accidents occur throughout the US each year. In addition, more than 116,000 people are injured in truck accidents each year. Many of these injuries are catastrophic.
Many of the truck accidents reported are the result of driver intoxication. The NHTSA reports that one percent of truck drivers tested in 2015 were found to have a Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) of .08 and above.
Driving a truck isn’t easy. These vehicles require drivers to have adequate experience and good reflexes in order to react appropriately in the face of danger. However, when a driver is intoxicated, his reflexes and ability to quickly make good decisions can be severely compromised. An intoxicated driver is much more likely to cause an accident in this condition.
Laws on driving under the influence vary from one state to the next. Intoxicated drivers are likely to face criminal charges when caught regardless of whether or not they have caused an accident. Their licenses are likely to be suspended or revoked and they may pay hefty fines or spend some time behind bars as punishment.
When these drivers cause an accident, personal injury claims may be filed against them and the trucking company. An intoxicated driver may be liable even if his actions were not the primary cause of the accident.
Proving that the truck driver or the trucking company was negligent is crucial when filing a claim for compensation for injuries that were caused in an accident involving a truck. You must prove:
- That the driver or trucking company had a duty of care toward you. You must show that they were legally responsible to act in a watchful or careful manner to the public.
- That the driver or trucking company was in breach of that duty.
- You must prove that the driver or trucking company’s actions or omissions caused the accident.
- You must prove that the accident resulted in your injuries
- You must prove the financial value of the injuries you suffered even if those injuries were physical and emotional.
This is a complicated process at any time. It is even more challenging when the defendant is a trucking company because such companies typically retain teams of lawyers and investigators to defend them in court. For that reason it is advisable to contact an experienced personal injury attorney for a free claim evaluation.