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Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Semi-Truck Crashes


It is illegal in all 50 states for drivers to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other substances that cause impairment. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol abuse while driving does still happen. Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers stresses the importance to know more about the regulations for DUIs involving commercial truck drivers.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Semi-Truck Crashes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that in 2010, 1.8 percent of the 3,446 truck drivers who were involved in a fatal collision had a BAC of over 0.08 percent. At least 3 percent had consumed some amount of alcohol. While these percentages may not seem that high, it’s important to remember the amount of devastation that just one incident of drunk driving can cause.

Across the states, commercial drivers must refrain from consuming alcohol at least 4 hours before operating a truck. Truck drivers should also not have any traces of alcohol in their blood when, even if it is below the legal limit. Employers are required to administer regular drug and alcohol testing for their drivers in order to prevent tragic semi-truck incidents caused by DUIs.

This problem permeates all aspects of society, including the trucking industry. Nobody can operate a vehicle safely when under the influence of various stimulants or depressants, whether legal or not. Certain prescription medications can negatively affect a truck driver’s ability to prevent driver fatigue and concentrate on the road.

Drug and alcohol abuse affects judgment and reflexes. The drunk driver is an impaired driver. The drunk driver cannot take actions to prevent an accident or lessen the seriousness of an accident. A drunk driving accident can be the result of a driver who has lost depth perception and does not appreciate speed and distance because of alcohol use. Drunk drivers often have erratic speeding patterns — too fast, then too slow.

Drunk drivers fail to adjust to traffic patterns. They may forget to turn on their lights or signal their turns, yet they may be filled with confidence. Unfortunately, that confidence can cause drunk driving accidents and endanger their own lives and the lives of family members and strangers.

Drunk driving may extend liability in truck accident cases involving catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. In addition to the truck driver, liable parties in an injury case may include bar owners, restaurant owners, liquor stores and others who contributed to the driver being under the influence at the time of the accident.

Victims of a drug and alcohol-related semi-truck accident can demand the following damages from the at-fault driver:

  • Payment of all current and future medical bills due to the accident, including therapy and rehabilitation costs
  • Lost income (or wages) for the period of time when the victim is unable to work
  • Pain and suffering (including emotional pain if it can be proven)
  • Property damage (includes vehicle repair or replacement and all property destroyed or damaged in the wreck)
  • Wrongful death, including funeral expenses and loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages — though not normally requested, the fact that the at-fault driver willfully drank to excess or took drugs is often compelling to a judge or jury

Drunk driving accidents are absolutely devastating, and it is common to feel angry, hurt, and a thousand other feelings if you were injured or if a loved one was injured or even killed.

In addition to the emotional pain of these situations, you will likely face a myriad of financial damages, including:

  • Medical expenses, including long-term hospital stays and surgery in worst-case situations
  • Physical therapy
  • Emotional therapy
  • Loss of income from work
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages
  • If a death was involved, there will be funeral expenses as well

You shouldn’t have to bear the full weight of these expenses alone. Also, you have more important things to worry about (getting better). To pursue compensation for these damages and hold the accountable party(s) responsible, you can consider filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Normally in these cases, the victim of an accident must prove to the courts that the other driver was being negligent and the negligent actions led to the accident and the victim’s injuries. In drunk driving accident lawsuits, the other driver’s drinking (a crime) may be well-documented by the police. Drunk driving by itself is a form of negligent driving, and so you may be able to present a strong case.

Intoxicated truck drivers can result in serious injury and even death to others on the highway. If you’ve been injured in an accident, the first step is to always seek medical assistance immediately. Get your injuries looked at and focus on healing. In the meantime, our drunk driving accident attorneys can begin collecting documents, speaking with your physicians, and collecting all the necessary evidence that we can. Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers is ready 24/7 to answer your call if you are injured by a big truck. Call our law firm at (888) 782-9090 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

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Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers has the experience and resources to make a difference in the lives of our injured clients. We are the law firm that cares about you. Contact us for a free, confidential consultation, or call us at (888) 782-9090. We are happy to serve Bowling Green, Glasgow, Greenville Kentucky, and Tennessee.

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“Hit by a drunk driver and hired Flora to handle my legal issues. She was prompt, fast, Courtese and very helpful. If you ever need an awesome lawyer and one that gonna be there every step of the way….she is the one.” – James S.