There are close to 500,000 truck accidents each year in the US, 5,000 of those being fatal. Being involved in an accident with a semi truck, 18 wheeler, or construction vehicle can result in extreme injuries, especially if you’re driving a smaller motor vehicle.
Truck accidents can happen for a number of reasons. These reasons can include truck driver fatigue, mechanical failure, truck driver negligence, road conditions, and driving under the influence (DUI).
WHAT IS A DUI?
DUI refers to driving under the influence. Driving under the influence of any drugs or alcohol, or the combination of both is illegal. These substances can cause a driver to lose their physical and mental capabilities of driving, and can cause the driver to lose control of the truck, causing a DUI truck accident. Accidents such as these most commonly lead to death.
Truck drivers are held to a much higher standard than other motor vehicle drivers. Driving with a commercial drivers license (CDL) means as a truck driver, you have more responsibility when behind the wheel. This also means higher repercussions when it comes to tickets and DUI convictions. If you get a DUI, as a truck driver, you risk losing your CDL, even if you’re behind the wheel of your personal car.
Most states have set regulations enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for truck drivers when it comes to driving under the influence. The blood alcohol concentration limit for a person pulled over driving a regular motor vehicle is 0.08 percent, for those driving commercial vehicles, it is half of that at 0.04 percent. The FMCSA has also stated that a driver must not operate a commercial vehicle within four hours of drinking an alcoholic beverage.
Commercial truck drivers are also required to take randomized alcohol and drug tests after an accident has occurred, or when there is reasonable suspicion. Regulations also allow for drug testing as a condition of employment. If pulled over under suspicion of a DUI, a truck driver faces harsh penalties for refusing to take a blood alcohol test. If they don’t take a blood alcohol test, it is the equivalent of admitting to a DUI conviction.
CONSEQUENCES OF COMMERCIAL DUI
Commercial truck drivers are held to the same criminal law procedures as regular motor vehicle drivers when convicted of a DUI. In addition to lower BAC levels, they may also have their CDL license suspended for a longer amount of time than a regular driver. In addition, CDL-holders convicted of a DUI have to notify their employer of the incident within 30 days. If the DUI results in a suspended or revoked license, his employer is barred from employing him for the duration of the suspension.
Drivers and passengers of smaller motor vehicles have very little protection when involved in an accident with a semi truck. The sheer weight and size of a commercial truck can cause serious, life-changing injuries or even death. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident due to the negligence of a truck driver, contact The Kyle Law Firm today. Our experienced truck accident lawyers will help you get the compensation you deserve for your suffering.