Drunk Truck Drivers: Breaking the Law

Driving while intoxicated is irresponsible, illegal, and deadly. In 2013, one person died every 52 minutes in an alcohol-related traffic accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s over 10,000 people who could still be alive today had drivers acted responsibly. Drunk driving truck accidents are not taken lightly, considering that a semi can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency tasked with regulating the trucking industry, absolutely prohibits commercial truck drivers (those with CDLs or commercial driver’s licenses) to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A blood alcohol concentration of .04 is enough to get a trucker in trouble.

Drivers are also randomly subjected to tests as well as always after a traffic accident. If they fail a drug or alcohol test, they lose driving privileges and subject their employer to civil liability for any damages they cause.

Drug and Alcohol Testing for Truck Drivers

The FMCSA mandates that all commercial truck drivers must undergo a six-panel Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol test for the following substances.

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Amphetamines
  • Methamphetamines
  • Phencyclidine

Drivers must subject themselves to testing at the following intervals.

  • Prior to employment.
  • After any accident in which there was an injury, fatality, or citation (alcohol tests occur within eight hours, and the drug test within 32 hours).
  • Randomly: Truck drivers can be tested any time during, or shortly before or after duty for random testing, to which they must submit. The FMCSA informs: “CDL drivers are subject to random, unannounced testing. A driver may be directed to take a drug test even when at home in an off-duty status.”
  • Whenever DOT-trained supervisors suspect the driver is under the influence because s/he is exhibiting signs of drug or alcohol abuse based on body odor, speech, or body movements.
  • When the driver returns to duty after having lost and then regained driving privileges.

Getting Recompense after a DUI Truck Driving Accident

If your loved one was hurt or killed in a truck accident caused by an intoxicated truck driver, you would be able to file a wrongful death claim against the semi-truck company. Likewise, if you were in the accident and injured, you can file a personal injury claim to recover damages. These civil suits are separate and distinct from any criminal charges the truck driver might face.

For legal help after a truck accident in Ohio, contact Bressman Law at 877-538-1116 for a free consultation today.