Semi-Truck Drivers Getting Drunk on the Road

Posted by on Aug 18, 2016 in Drunk Driving, Truck Accidents | 0 comments

Compared to a light pickup or any other form of vehicle, an 18-wheeler, also called semi-truck, big rig or tractor-trailer, that is running at 65 mph will require about 525 feet before coming to a full stop (that is 209 feet longer that the distance required by a light pick-up truck). Due to its size and weight, it will also require a different type of braking system and a different set of tires.

A semi-truck weighs about 80,000 lbs., making it 20-30 times heavier than a passenger car. While this weight can make this type of vehicle incredibly tough in road crashes, the same feature is source of great disadvantage where braking or coming to a full stop is the issue.

A semi-trailer’s length and weight make it necessary that it be operated only by a licensed commercial vehicle driver who, it is supposed, has received proper trainer, has developed the required skills and has passed the tests required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Despite qualification, though, once on the road, many semi-truck drivers lay aside the rules on safety driving in order to complete a job as fast as they can and get the chance to do another – all for a higher take home pay.

What this means, however, is longer time on the road, little time of rest between driving duties and, at times, taking drugs or drinking alcohol during stops. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for for truck drivers, by the way, 0.04% (lower than the 0.08% limit for drivers of passenger cars). Semi-truck drivers operating their truck despite a 0.04% BAC can result to DUI, while if caught with a 0.02%BAC, they can be suspended from operating their truck for a total of 24 hours.

As affirmed by the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., many truck drivers and trucking companies do everything they can to stay safe on the roadway. The sad reality, though, is that not everyone exercises this level of caution, putting unsuspecting motorists in harm’s way. Drivers forced to exceed the set hours of service restrictions, drivers who abuse alcohol and/or amphetamines while behind the wheel, or drivers / companies that fail to keep their trucks in good working order regularly expose everyone on the road to serious risks. Truck drivers and/or trucking companies that are at fault should be made to face the law for their reckless behavior. With this is their legal responsibility in compensating innocent victims who have suffered injuries because of their irresponsible acts.

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Drunk-driving: A Senseless and Cruel Act

Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 in Drunk Driving | 0 comments

At about 2:30 a.m. of April 22, 2015, a 19-year old female driver in a Toyota Prius collided head-on with a pickup truck along Highway 50 near Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento. The female driver was on the fast lane of Highway 50, going eastbound in the westbound lane during the time of the crash, which killed her and the three passengers of the pickup truck. Prior to the collision, the young driver was said to have been driving in the wrong direction, swerving around other vehicles for several miles. Weeks of further investigation revealed that the female driver had a blood-alcohol level of 0.20% at the time of the fatal crash.

Drunk driving is a major traffic offense in all US states. Alcohol, as it has always been proven, impairs a person’s motor skills and mental capacity, as well as affects his/her coordination, reaction time, judgment, perception, and overall capability to keep his/her focus on the road. Lack or loss of control over any of these skills can easily result in a crash that may injure or kill not only the drunk driver himself/herself, but also his/her passengers, pedestrians and other motorists. It is due to the increased risk of harm that may befall innocent lives which makes drunk driving a major offense.

Though the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level limit for car drivers is 0.08 percent, studies have shown that even at 0.02 percent BAC level, a person’s driving ability and response time can already be affected. The possibility of figuring in a crash increases after 0.05 percent BAC, becoming even higher after 0.08 percent; thus, under all state laws, an individual is considered alcohol-impaired if he or she has a BAC level of 0.08% or higher and, if caught, will be charged with drinking under the influence (DUI) or drinking while intoxicated (DWI). However, to further reduce the risks brought about by drunk-driving, some states authorize traffic enforcers to charge a driver with impaired driving or DUI even if such driver’s blood alcohol concentration level is below 0.08 percent, so long as the arresting officer sees that the driver’s abilities are impaired.

In 2013, there were 1,171,935 DUI arrests in the US including in the District of Columbia. In 2010, based on records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of arrests went as high as 1.4 million. With these staggering figures some traffic authorities are even thankful that the number of fatal accidents (due to alcohol and/or illegal drugs impairment) does not go beyond 10,500 every year). Well, thanks to stricter laws, the zeal in enforcing these laws, the harsher penalties, and to the efforts of private groups, like the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) which, since 1980, has helped in the passing of new DUI laws, such as the Zero Tolerance law (which prohibits drivers below 21 from having in their blood system any measurable amount of alcohol) and the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) law (which authorizes an arresting officer to confiscate the license of drivers who refuse to take or fail a breath test.

Traffic authorities, however, know that despite all the efforts from government and private groups, people will continue to get behind the wheel of their vehicles even if intoxicated. Thus, the justice system will hold them liable for any damage they get to inflict on those that they injure or kill simply because drinking and driving is an irresponsible act that they willingly choose to do. An Indianapolis drunk driving accident lawyer might add that aside from the criminal charge and penalties, offenders often also face monetary liabilities or compensation which they will legally have to pay victims of their irresponsible behavior.

The families of those who were killed on the dawn of April 22, 2015, referred to the death of their loved ones as “senseless killing.” Though they know that the tragic event can no longer be undone, they are hopeful that they will receive the compensation that they legally deserve, and at the same time send a message to others not to make the same senseless and cruel act.

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