While all drivers on the roadways must abide by federal and state laws regarding operating a motor vehicle under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established even stricter regulations regarding alcohol and drug testing for those truck drivers with a commercial driver’s license.
Specifically, no commercial truck driver may have a blood alcohol concentration level above 0.02 when driving a commercial truck or have partaken of any alcohol or drugs in the 8 hours before their driving shift starting. Unfortunately, a study reported that 15% of all truck drivers tested positive for marijuana; another 20% had other types of illegal drugs or alcohol in their systems.
Why Truck Drivers Abuse Alcohol and Drugs
The trucking business is one filled with stressful deadlines, long hours of driving on the roadways, and the pressure to get goods delivered as quickly as possible. Truck drivers are often looking for a way to stay awake longer or stay more alert while they are driving. The longer they drive, the more money they make.
Truck drivers may abuse alcohol when their shift is over to decompress after a stressful day. In other cases, truck drivers might abuse drugs such as methamphetamine and other illegal substances in an attempt to combat the exhaustion of long hours, physical endurance, and the requirement for mental alertness needed for constant driving on the roadways. With the abuse of these types of substances comes the increase in the number of catastrophic accidents on the roads leading to severe injuries or even death.
Liability in Trucking Accidents
Although a full investigation may determine that the truck driver involved in your accident was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be able to sue not only the truck driver but the trucking company as well. Trucking companies have a responsibility and a duty to ensure that they hire drivers that are experienced with an excellent safe driving record. If a trucking company employs a driver that they know had challenges with drug or alcohol substance abuse in the past, they are responsible for the actions of their employee.
Additionally, if an investigation discovers that a trucking company incentivized their drivers in any way to drive at higher speeds to deliver goods faster, or failed to discipline or fire any truck driver that operated a commercial truck under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will be considered liable and responsible to compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you were involved in a truck accident, we will conduct an independent investigation to determine the cause of the accident and who is responsible for compensating you for your injuries. Our experienced trucking accident attorneys are ready to build a strong personal injury case on your behalf and fight for your legal rights to receive compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.