We’ll Hold DUI Truck Drivers Accountable
Truck drivers are held to Federal standards of alcohol consumption that are stricter than state laws for regular drivers. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act, a truck driver must be below a 0.04% blood alcohol concentration, while the rule for non-commercial drivers in California is 0.08%.
There is a good reason for truck drivers to be held to a higher standard. The massive vehicles they drive have the potential to cause serious destruction, so they have a crucial responsibility to be focused and steady to operate them safely. Alcohol or drug use can compromise drivers’ cognitive functions, making accidents much more likely to happen.
If you were injured in a Carlsbad accident caused by a truck driver who may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, call Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers at (888) 233-5020 as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We will review your case and discuss options for pursuing the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
How Will a Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers Attorney Help Me?
As the victim of an accident, you probably feel overwhelmed and need someone who understands the situation you are in. Our compassionate legal team will lead the way in holding the responsible parties accountable, allowing you to focus on taking care of yourself and recovering from your injuries.
Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers has extensive experience and a network of resources that allow us to skillfully investigate every aspect of your accident to demonstrate that drugs or alcohol led to the truck driver’s reckless actions. We will then file your insurance claim and demand that the responsible parties pay for your damages. Our successful strategies for negotiating will ensure you are able to put your life back together with the financial compensation you are owed. With Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers on your side, the outcome for your case will surpass what you could ever accomplish on your own.
Why Truckers Might Drive Under the Influence
The profession of truck driving comes with certain challenges. Long-haul truckers who can’t be home every night lead very solitary lives. They routinely drive hundreds of miles every day and feel pressure from their employers to get cargo to its destinations as fast as possible by driving as long as they can push themselves. This lifestyle can lead to loneliness, fatigue, and boredom. Studies show that abuse of drugs and alcohol is common among truck drivers who use them to make it through their shifts and deal with their negative feelings and stressful working conditions.
Federal law prohibits truck drivers from driving within four hours of consuming any alcohol or controlled substances, yet they still get behind the wheel soon after consuming them and other substances, such as cold medicine or alertness aids. While some medications or substances may be legal to use, they can be unsafe for someone who needs to drive. A trucker may use a substance to stay awake and alert, but it can also embolden them to drive too fast, feel overconfident in adverse weather conditions, or make unsafe turns or lane changes.
Following are the substances that truckers are known to use and how they can affect their driving:
Alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant that reduces brain function and affects muscle coordination, thinking, and reasoning. With a 0.02% blood alcohol concentration (BAC), a driver’s visual functions will decline, as will the aptitude for performing two tasks at the same time. At a BAC level of 0.08%, there is difficulty in concentrating, impaired perception, short-term memory loss, and a reduction in the capability to process information. As the BAC levels increase, a driver will decline in their ability to brake properly, maintain lane position, and process auditory and visual information.
Marijuana: Although the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in many states, it does affect some of the functions needed for driving, including motor coordination, reaction time, and judgment. A person who uses marijuana can also experience euphoria and distortions in their perceptions of time and space.
Amphetamines and Methamphetamines: These two substances are closely related and stimulate the central nervous system to generate feelings of excitation. They can make a person feel more alert, and truck drivers will use them to stay awake longer to travel more distance. Over-the-counter diet supplements that are marketed to promote weight loss can contain illegal amphetamine derivatives with harmful side effects. High doses of amphetamines can slow reflexes, hinder concentration, cause agitation, and impair balance and body control. The effect can be a driver who speeds, swerves, or fails to react promptly to traffic situations.
Cocaine: This stimulant delivers a feeling of energy and alertness with a sense of power or supremacy. It can be used to help a driver feel more awake during a long trip. It can also lead to driving at high speeds, losing control of the truck, and being overconfident enough to attempt risky driving situations. When combined with alcohol, cocaine can suppress the ability to perceive your own level of intoxication, so users believe they are functioning normally.
Who Will Be Held Responsible When a Truck Driver DUI Accident Happens?
When truckers use drugs or alcohol during duty hours, they can be unreliable and downright dangerous on the road. They should always be held accountable for their reckless behavior, but they may not be the only responsible party. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict regulations on not only drivers but trucking companies as well. These businesses are required to:
- Administer random, periodic tests on drivers to detect substance use;
- Test drivers following any suspicious circumstances, such as traffic accidents;
- Educate drivers about the effects of drugs and alcohol and the risks of driving under the influence.
When trucking companies fail to live up to their responsibilities of testing and training their employees, they can be liable for an accident that one of their impaired drivers caused, if:
- That driver is an official employee of the company;
- That driver is on the clock during the time accident took place; and
- That driver is carrying out job-related activities when the collision occurred.
If there is reason to believe that drugs or alcohol were involved in your accident with a truck, Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers knows just what to do. We will carefully investigate to determine if there is evidence to prove drug or alcohol use, whether the driver had previous DUI or drug offenses, and if the trucking company was in compliance with FMCSA regulations. Whenever possible, we will pursue a claim against the trucking company and its substantial liability policy.
Answers to Common Questions About Truck Driver DUI Accidents
Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers wants to be sure you get all of the information you need about your injury claim, so we encourage you to contact our office at (888) 233-5020 and schedule a free consultation. In the meantime, here are a few brief answers to questions we think you may have:
How will I be compensated for my injuries?
Your personal injury insurance claim will present all the details of how much the accident has cost you financially and how your injuries have affected your life. You will be offered a settlement that is meant to reimburse you for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other related losses. This is why it’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side who can negotiate the highest settlement possible for you.
What are the penalties for a trucker who drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
If convicted of a DUI in California, a commercial driver will suffer the same consequences as any driver, as well as having their CDL affected. This can include jail time, probation, fines, and DUI school. Penalties increase with additional convictions within a 10-year time period. Following a first-time DUI conviction, a truck driver’s CDL will be suspended for at least one year. A second conviction results in a lifetime suspension of the driver’s CDL.
When should I seek legal help for my truck driver DUI accident claim?
Your best option is to contact a Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers lawyer as soon as possible after the accident, so you aren’t trying to navigate the claim process on your own while trying to deal with the physical and emotional aftermath of the situation. Even if you didn’t contact us right away, California law allows you a two-year window of time to pursue a personal injury claim.
Let’s Talk About Your Truck Driver DUI Accident
If you have been through an accident with a truck driven by someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs, let Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers help you, just as we have helped so many other Carlsbad clients. We will carry the burden of pursuing the justice and compensation you are entitled to. A consultation with our Carlsbad truck accident attorneys won’t cost you anything, so get in touch with us today by calling (888) 233-5020 or completing our online contact form.