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. DUI lawyers from the Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, law firm advises people who have been charged with drinking and driving to find out and know about their legal rights and options to help with their defense.
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One might think that since car accidents happen so often that there would be more people making better decisions while on the road—that, over time, the number of car accidents would diminish eventually with better education, exposure to the truth of car accidents, and awareness of how real and prominent they are in today’s society.
Unfortunately, this fails to be the case as according to the website of the lawyers with Williams Kherkher, there are still over 2 million car accidents that happen in the United States alone, every single year. Some car accidents can be traumatizing, while some can render people physically disabled for the rest of their lives, while there are also some cases wherein car accidents have resulted into the wrongful death of a victim.
So who is at fault in a car accident? There could be numerous variables to consider.
Was a driver reckless while on the road? A car accident need not be between two cars but it can also be a car and an unsuspecting pedestrian. A reckless driver could be one who tempts fate and thinks themselves as above the usual limits, one who is too fatigued to be trusted on the road, or one who is under the influence of alcohol.
Was the car in proper order when it was received? From a manufacturing stage, everything needs to be inspected in order to make sure that the vehicle is in working order, in order to ensure the safety of both the customer but also all the other vehicles on the road.
What was the state of the weather? Sometimes, inclement weather such as hurricanes with very strong winds or earthquakes that made the roads unstable or unable to be passed while there were vehicles on it. The likelihood of these incidents are far and few in between but they are still possible.
In conclusion, a strong majority of car accidents happen due to negligence. If there was a negligent party that then caused a car accident, they are at fault and should be held accountable for any and all damages done that was due to their reckless negligence.
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It’s no surprise that trucks overpower just about every other vehicle on the road. Considering that large trucks typically weight 30 to 40 times the weight of an ordinary passenger car, it’s no mystery that accidents involving these monstrous vehicles usually end with fatalities. According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 3,062 fatalities caused by large truck accidents reported in the year 2013. 67 percent of these incidents involved passengers riding in regular vehicles, 16 percent were truck operators, and 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
In all these accidents, driver negligence and error play a crucial part. The unfortunate reality is that these tragic outcomes could have been easily prevented if truck operators have followed prescribed safety precautions and regulations. However, because of some oversight or recklessness, these safety nets are ignored and catastrophic accidents continue to occur.
According to the website of an Oklahoma truck accident lawyer at the Abel Law Firm, one of the most common errors committed by truck drivers is the failure to provide proper signals when making turns. Because of the sheer size of the vehicles they are operating, it’s important that drivers in other vehicles are able to see where they plan to move or turn. Another common mistake is the failure to pay close attention to blind spots or no-zones. These are crucial areas surrounding the truck where a vehicle or pedestrian can be obstructed from view. Some of the other negligent mistakes include driving aggressively or recklessly, driving during bad weather conditions, driving while intoxicated or distracted, and driving with an overweight load.
Trucks are undoubtedly more difficult to operate than the usual passenger vehicle. As such, trucking companies should hold high standards for the drivers that they take into their fleet. Accidents caused by the failure to meet such standards can entitle aggrieved individuals to just compensation. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney working within their area of residence, truck accident victims can pursue damages that can help cover hospital costs and other financial burdens.
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