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Arnold & Itkin LLP Truck Accident Blog2016JanuaryAlcohol & Drug Abuse by Truck Drivers

Alcohol & Drug Abuse by Truck Drivers

Accidents involving alcohol or drugs are a major cause of fatalities in the United States. When an individual chooses to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs, they are putting more than just themselves at risk—they threaten everyone else on the road. When a commercial truck driver drives while impaired, it is even more dangerous.

How DWI Truck Accidents Differ

A DUI or DWI truck accident can be extremely destructive, as the sheer force of an 18-wheeler or commercial truck is far greater than that of an average vehicle. In fact, most semi-trucks or tractor-trailers weigh around 80,000 pounds. When a driver is no longer in control of a truck that weighs that much, the results can be devastating.

These accidents different from regular passenger vehicle accidents in several ways:

  • The commercial driver may have a union / larger corporation protecting them.
  • The difference in size means the passenger vehicle driver often faces serious injuries.
  • The injuries and expenses involved in such accidents are often much more severe.
  • BAC for commercial drivers is lower than the typical .08 BAC limit.

The laws regulating drug and alcohol testing for commercial truck drivers is defined under the Department of Transportation’s rule, 49, CFR Part 382. It covers everything from pre-employment chemical tests to reasonable suspicion testing, to post-accident testing.

How Is Drug or Alcohol Impairment Determined?

For alcohol testing methods, evidence must be collected through means of a saliva device, alcohol screening device, or an evidential breath test. The method must be preapproved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and performed by a trained breath alcohol or screening test technician, depending on the type of test.

The confirmation sample must then be conducted within 30 minutes of the screening test and performed with an evidential breath testing device by a trained breath alcohol technician. The law strictly prohibits an employer from allowing a driver with a BAC of .04% or greater from operating the vehicle. Furthermore, a driver with an alcohol concentration of .02% or greater, but below .04%, must be removed from duty for at least 24 hours.

Why You Need a Lawyer After a DWI / DUI Truck Accident

Keep in mind, even if a truck driver is convicted in criminal court of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that doesn’t mean you automatically receive compensation for your injuries. You will likely need to pursue a lawsuit against them. Truck drivers will be backed by their company, their company’s insurance company, and their lawyers. Don’t try to take these entities on by yourself! Instead, turn to our firm.

If you were injured by an impaired truck driver, your case calls for the skilled counsel and representation of a Houston truck accident lawyer. Our firm has helped injured clients receive more than $1 billion in just 5 years. Arnold & Itkin understands the complexities of such accidents and can help develop a strong case against the accused.

We are ready to advocate on your behalf. Call our truck accident firm today!


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