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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