Large Truck Accidents Caused by Drugs and Alcohol
Alcohol abuse is a serious problem for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). These drivers spend many days out on the road. They may drive for eleven hours out of a fourteen hour shift, using caffeine and other stimulants to stay awake behind the wheel. When they reach the point where they need to take a mandatory break, they may find themselves in situations where they are exhausted, yet artificially stimulated. Frequently, alcohol appears to be a good way to come down before starting the next shift. However, it may lead to alcohol abuse problems where the driver is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs while behind the wheel of a CMV.Strict Requirements for Avoiding Alcohol and Drugs When on the Job
Regulations enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the United States Department of Transportation mandate that a driver cannot operate a CMV if he has consumed alcohol within the previous four hours. In fact, federal regulations dictate that a driver should not have any measureable concentration of alcohol in his bloodstream prior to getting behind the wheel. Regulations also prohibit truck drivers from ingesting, injecting, or otherwise taking controlled substances unless it was prescribed by a physician for that individual.
According to statistics compiled by the FMCSA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in The Large Truck Crash Causation Study, only one percent of the fatal crashes for 2007 involved a commercial truck driver who was under the influence. Despite this small percentage, based on the large number of trucks that are on the road and the number of fatal accidents each year, this is still too high. A tractor-trailer is very difficult to maneuver under the best of circumstances. When alcohol or drugs are added into the mix, the consequences are often devastating.When is the Trucking Company Responsible for the Harm Caused by the Driver
In the State of Maine, a commercial truck driver is considered under the influence if he has a blood alcohol content (BAC) more than .04, which is half the legal limit of .08 for non-commercial drivers. Depending on the circumstances of the crash and the history of the driver, the motor carrier/trucking company for which the driver works also may be liable for the harm suffered by an accident victim. The trucking company may be liable if:
- The driver had a history of DUI arrests prior to being hired by the trucking company;
- The driver was discovered to have an alcohol abuse problem while working for the trucking company and the appropriate steps were not taken; or
- The trucking company failed to properly supervise the driver, did not train the driver with regard to alcohol policies, or otherwise was negligent in its duties to oversee the actions of the driver or confirm alleged activities with the recorded log details.
A victim who has been involved in an accident with a commercial truck may experience serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, crush injuries, fractured or broken bones, or even death. If you or a loved one has been in a serious accident with a tractor-trailer, the skilled and compassionate personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates have the experience to put together a powerful case to get the compensation, and the justice, that you deserve. We will sit down with you during an initial consultation and discuss what happened, how the negligence of the driver, and potentially the trucking company, can be proven, and work with you to develop the strategy that works best for you and your family. To schedule a time to meet, call us at 1 800.804.2004.