Drivers, who share the road with trucks, would surely not consider that the driver driving the 18-wheeler beside them is sleepy or alcohol-impaired, unless there are obvious signs that would show any of these. Thousands of data show, however, that many drivers were, indeed, either falling asleep or intoxicated and impaired due to alcohol prior to accidents. As a matter of fact, with regard to use of alcohol and drugs by truck drivers, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that it actually is the second major reason behind truck accidents.
Drivers operating a commercial vehicle, such as buses and Class 8 trucks, which are trucks with a GWVR exceeding 33000 lb, like big-rigs, also called semi-trailers or 18-wheelers, observe a higher standard where alcohol intoxication limit is the issue. Compared to the 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit imposed on drivers of smaller vehicles, like cars, SUVs, and pick-ups, the BAC limit on drivers of commercial vehicles is 0.04%. This means that anyone who will be caught driving with this BAC level can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI).
Big-rig drivers, however, should worry not only about getting caught driving with the 0.04% BAC limit. As it is, those who will also be found to have a 0.02% BAC can also be suspended from driving for about 24 hours, while those who will register a 0.08%, even when off-duty, may still be charged with a DUI.
Their need and desire to stay awake and alert to be able to cover more road miles are what make drivers drink and or take illegal drives. This is one of the saddest effects of getting paid by the mile (about .40 cents per mile). However, the only results drinking alcohol and taking drugs will lead to are sleepiness and fatigue, and impairment.
It is the duty and responsibility of drivers to always stay sober when operating their truck. Impairment will lessen their ability to safely operate the huge and dangerous vehicles they are driving, putting the lives of many in danger. Thus, any act in violation of the laws against drunk driving can make them face serious criminal chargers, harsh penalties, and civil liabilities for whatever injuries and damages their drunkenness might cause.
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Drug violations are considered serious offenses in America and are typically met with harsh penalties. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 1.8 million drug-related arrests were made in 2007. Despite the fact that it’s one of most widely used drugs in the United States and the constant debates regarding the legalization of its use, marijuana was found to account for majority of these arrests. As pointed out by on the website of Kohler Hart Powell, SC, approximately 44% of all drug-related crimes involve the possession, distribution, or manufacturing or marijuana. That is large number of the total cases and a clear indicator of how many lives can potentially be affected by charges of possession.
Certain states across America have decriminalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational use. Even fewer have legalized it completely. However, in majority of the country, simply possessing any amount of marijuana can cause serious issues and lead to a criminal charge. While penalties for a marijuana possession charge vary from state to state, convicted individuals can expect to pay up to thousands of dollars in fines. They could also end up serving a significant amount of time in jail.
In most places, marijuana possession is classified as a misdemeanor—at least at first offense. This could lead to paying a maximum $1000 fine and spending up to 1 year in jail. At second offense, marijuana possession is penalized with up to $2500 in fines and a maximum 2 years in jail. The crime is often upgraded to a felony at third and subsequent offenses. A marijuana possession felony charge can result in up to $5000 in fines and a maximum of 30 years imprisonment.
Certain areas impose stricter penalties based on the amount of marijuana found in an individual’s person. Punishment in Texas will vary depending on the weight of marijuana found in a person’s possession. Having 4 ounces or less is considered a misdemeanor and is punished with a maximum $2000 fine and 1 year of jail time. Anything more than 4 ounces is already considered a felony. The steepest felony punishment requires 5 to 99 years of imprisonment and up to $50,000 in fines. Sometimes, convicted felons can also be sentenced in prison for life. For more information consult with a criminal defense expert.
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