No person should ever drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, when the driver of a large commercial truck drives while under the influence, the repercussions can be even more deadly. Federal laws prohibit commercial vehicle drivers from driving with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. Trucking regulations in general have little tolerance for commercial drivers who drive under the influence. After all, drugs and alcohol can alter the driver’s perception, coordination, balance, attention, and cognitive behavior—all traits required for safe driving.
How Common is Driving Under the Influence for Truck Drivers?
A study by the Insurance Institute for Traffic Safety found that 15% of all large commercial truck drivers had marijuana in their system, 12% had non-prescription stimulants, 5% had prescription stimulants, 2% had cocaine in their system and less than 1% were under the influence of alcohol. These are truly scary statistics, as the NTSB considers drug usage by truck drivers a major contributing factor in trucking accidents across the country.
The relative isolation experienced by truck drivers, long hours on the road, and the tedious nature of the job can lead drivers to engage in drug or alcohol use. Truck drivers often use methamphetamines to remain awake, log more miles, and end up with a bigger paycheck at the end of the month. The same NTSB study also found that 85% of truckers said meth was easily obtainable at most any truck stop. Other commonly used drugs include marijuana, cocaine, and other stimulants.
Steps to Take if the Truck Driver Who Caused Your Accident Was Impaired
If the truck driver who caused your accident was impaired at the time, it is extremely important that a full-scale investigation be launched as soon as possible. An experienced truck accident attorney can work quickly to obtain police reports and hospital reports. The attorney can subpoena the results of Breathalyzer or blood test evidence as well as the results of field sobriety tests.
Potentially incriminating evidence from the crash site such as an empty prescription bottle, illegal drugs, or drug paraphernalia can be crucial in proving the driver was driving under the influence. In nearly every instance of a truck accident, the trucking company immediately “circles the wagons.” They send out experts to the scene immediately, and get their lawyers and insurance company on board quickly. If the injured person does not have an attorney who is doing the same, crucial evidence can easily go missing, making it nearly impossible to prove the case for the plaintiff.
In the end, drivers of large commercial trucks are—rightfully—held to a higher standard than other drivers for a number of reasons. Truck drivers are expected to follow state and federal trucking regulations in addition to the rules of the road. When an 80,000-pound commercial truck collides with a much smaller passenger vehicle, the outcome for those in the smaller vehicle is unlikely to be positive. Truck drivers must take the size of their truck into account, and must always be aware of the safety of other drivers. When truck drivers fail to live up to these responsibilities, they—along with the trucking company who employs them—must be held accountable for resulting accidents and injury.
Contact Experienced Trucking Accident Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our trucking accident lawyers realize how devastating DUI truck accidents in the Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and throughout the State of Maryland can be. We also know how difficult it can be to prove liability and establish that drug or alcohol use is to blame. As such, we fight aggressively from the very start to build a case that is designed to maximize compensation for our clients and hold the negligent truck driver accountable for his actions. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The trucking accident attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and other locations throughout Maryland and Virginia.