How Common Is Impaired Driving in Trucking Accidents?

It’s a frightening reality that many people get behind the wheel when they are impaired by alcohol or other substances. While driving under the influence is dangerous regardless of what vehicle is being driven, it can be much more dangerous when someone behind the wheel of a big rig is impaired.

Commercial trucks weigh 20-30 times more than normal vehicles, making them a bigger threat when a collision occurs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there were 3,921 trucking-related fatalities in 2012, an 8.9% increase from the previous year.

Here is how impaired driving plays a role in commercial truck accidents.

Substance Use Among Drunk Drivers

Federal regulations and trucking company regulations are put in place to help ensure that truck drivers are penalized if they are under the influence behind the wheel. However, this doesn’t eliminate the issue. Many truck drivers work for many hours a day, up to 70 hours in one week. Some truck drivers combat the drowsiness and loneliness by turning to substances such as:

  • Alcohol

  • Methamphetamine

  • Cocaine

  • Marijuana

These substances can affect a truck driver’s ability to see the road, make sound decisions, or comprehend road signals.

Penalties for Truckers Who Drive Impaired

Truck drivers have a greater responsibility when behind the wheel, one of the reasons why there are so many regulations they must adhere to and rigorous training they must go through. Unfortunately, this does not prevent all truckers from getting behind the wheel when they should not. Truckers who drive under the influence face several possible penalties, including:

  • The suspension or revocation of their commercial vehicle license

  • The temporary or permanent loss of their jobs

  • Criminal fines and charges, including possible jail time

  • A possible civil claim from any trucking accident victims

In addition to the penalties drivers may face, the biggest impact on truckers who drive impaired is the possibility of injuring themselves and multiple others on the road.

Contact a Fresno Trucking Accident Attorney

Injuries sustained in trucking accidents can be severe and leave you with a long road to recovery. If you or a loved one was injured in a trucking accident due to an impaired driver, we’re ready to hear your story and fight the compensation you need to heal.

Contact Fowler | Helsel | Vogt at (559) 900-1280 to schedule your free consultation.

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