Drinking and Driving an 18-Wheeler: Is There Anything More Deadly?
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.