Commercial Truck Accidents and Driver DUI

By Michael London on February 12, 2019


A commercial truck driver behind the wheelWe expect professional drivers to be safe and attentive of all rules of the road no matter what. This is especially important for commercial truck drivers who operate tractor-trailers. These vehicles can be extremely dangerous in collisions, causing catastrophic truck accidents that result in serious or fatal injuries. In some instances, the truck driver may have been drunk or intoxicated while operating their vehicle.

The New York, NY lawyers of Douglas & London would like to look at drunk driving accidents in the commercial trucking industry. Though rare, they can be deadly. Attorneys Gary J. Douglas and Michael A. London can go over these matters in more detail during a legal consultation.

Stricter Drunk Driving Laws for Commercial Drivers

Given the nature of a truck driver’s job, they are held to a much higher standard when it comes to legal BAC limits. For any drivers of commercial tractor-trailers and other vehicles, the legal limit for alcohol is 0.04 rather than 0.08 for passenger vehicles.

This lower legal limit helps ensure that people paid to drive commercial vehicles are sober when they are behind the wheel, and hence not impaired as they are on the road. Sadly, despite these stricter laws, drunk driving accidents do occur involving intoxicated truck drivers.

Statistics on Fatal Crashes from Truck Driver DUI

According to data compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 157 drivers of large trucks who were killed in collisions in 2016. This number is higher than it was in the previous two years (135 deaths in 2015 and 148 deaths in 2014).

In addition, the FMCSA found that 6,498 passenger vehicle drivers were killed in collisions with large trucks in 2016 as a result of a drunk driver. In these cases, either the truck driver or the passenger vehicle driver was intoxicated.

Drunk Driving Increases Dangers of Large Trucks

When a driver of a large truck is drunk, this makes the usual hazards of these big vehicles much more serious. Truck drivers may experience impaired judgement, slower reflexes, poor coordination, and delayed reaction times. Additionally, a truck driver may not be as careful in checking their mirrors or noting nearby motorists as they are on the road.

Drunk driving can also increase the risk of driver fatigue, which can be just as deadly.

Do Past DUIs Prevent Someone from Obtaining a Commercial License?

If you are trying to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a large truck, past DUIs on your driving record could potentially prevent you from receiving your license. The nature of your drunk driving charge, the presence of multiple DUIs on your record, and other factors will determine if you are eligible for a CDL.

Can Trucking Companies Be Held Liable for a Drunk Truck Driver?

Even if a truck driver receives a CDL despite past drunk driving charges, the license itself will not guarantee employment. Trucking companies will often look at a driver’s record as part of the hiring process. Past traffic violations as a civilian or as a commercial driver could jeopardize a person’s prospects for employment.

If a trucking company fails to screen its drivers, or is they disregard the dangers revealed in that driver’s record, the company may be liable for hiring a dangerous driver.

We Will Hold Negligent Parties Accountable

Our attorneys understand just how dangerous tractor-trailer and commercial truck crashes can be. That is why we will fight diligently on your behalf to ensure truck drivers and trucking companies are held liable for any recklessness or negligence that contributed to an auto collision. Our goal is to help you obtain damages for the losses and hardships you have endured.

Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer

For more information about your legal rights and options following a drunk driving accident, be sure to contact an experienced auto accident attorney. The legal team at Douglas & London is here to help. You can reach our lawyers by phone at (212) 566-7500.

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