Truck drivers transport goods to store shelves and our front doors. Unfortunately, some commercial truck drivers turn to alcohol and drugs to deal with the stress of the job, the pressure of meeting tight deadlines and the loneliness of being away from their families. When a truck driver gets behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the driver puts every other motorist and passenger on the road at risk.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident caused by an intoxicated truck driver, you need a compassionate and knowledgeable truck accident lawyer to help you hold the driver and trucking company financially accountable for your injuries and damages. Since 1999, the truck accident attorneys of Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC, based in Indianapolis, have worked to help accident victims recover financial compensation when they have been injured by negligent truck drivers and trucking companies.
Our attorneys’ record of success has been recognized in the awards that our lawyers and law firm have received, including an AV Preeminent Rating from the Martindale-Hubbell rating service, a 10.0 Superb Rating on Avvo, 2014 and 2015 Litigator Awards, memberships in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We were named a 10 Best Law Firm of 2015 by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys.
Craig, Kelley & Faultless has five offices across Indiana to serve clients. Our clients’ satisfaction with our legal service is represented in the numerous testimonials we have received on Google and social media platforms. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in which the truck driver was driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, contact a drunk truck driver accident attorney at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC for a free consultation. Learn about how our firm can help you pursue the maximum recovery for your injuries and damages. Call us today at (800) 746-0226.
Commercial Truck Driver DUI Regulations
Commercial truck drivers and trucking companies must comply with many regulations. These regulations are administered by the state and by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Because truck drivers frequently haul dangerous or hazardous cargo and because large trucks themselves can be dangerous in careless or reckless hands, state and federal regulations seek to keep off the road negligent drivers, including commercial drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
The measure for determining intoxicated driving is stricter for commercial drivers. FMSCA has set a blood alcohol content limit of 0.04 percent for commercial drivers. That is half the .08 percent BAC limit for other motorists in most states. The regulations also prohibit commercial drivers from operating a commercial vehicle within four hours of consuming an alcoholic beverage.
The regulations require commercial drivers to submit to random alcohol and drug testing. In addition, commercial truck drivers are required to be tested after an accident involving injury or loss of life if an employer or law enforcement officer suspects that the driver has been driving under the influence, or as a condition of the driver’s return to duty following alcohol and drug policy violations.
Commercial drivers face harsher penalties for refusing to submit to a blood-alcohol test. Federal regulations treat it as the equivalent of pleading guilty to DUI. Commercial drivers who are convicted of any moving violations must notify their employer of their conviction, regardless of what kind of vehicle they were driving at the time of their offense.
These regulations apply to commercial drivers and employers of commercial drivers including:
- Any person who owns or leases a commercial motor vehicle
- Any person or entity that assigns drivers to drive commercial vehicles
- Federal, state, and local governments
- For-hire motor carriers
- Private motor carriers
- Civic organizations, such as transport services for disabled or elderly individuals
DUI Truck Accident Statistics
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has compiled the following large truck and commercial bus crash statistics for a recent year:
- There were 4,455 fatal truck crashes
- Among fatal crashes involving large trucks, approximately 2.5% of truck drivers had a BAC greater than or equal to 0.08, which is twice the BAC limit permitted for commercial truck drivers (0.04). That percentage is the highest it’s been in the past 20 years.
Can I Recover Damages from a Drunk Truck Driving Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident caused by an impaired truck driver, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. In addition to any criminal charges the truck driver faces, you may file a separate civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation for your injuries and related losses.
Many other corporate parties beyond the truck driver can be held liable for a drunk truck driver accident. Other parties that may be legally responsible to compensate you for your injuries and damages include:
- The trucking company that employed the truck driver
- The truck’s owner, if different from the truck driver or trucking company
- The freight company that loaded the truck
- The truck manufacturer or manufacturers of parts used in the truck
- The company responsible for the truck’s maintenance
When a truck driver uses alcohol and/or drugs and then gets behind the wheel and causes a crash, the driver can be held liable for your losses.
If you have been involved in a truck accident caused by an intoxicated driver, you may be entitled to seek compensation for damages including:
- Past and future medical expenses, including hospital bills, surgery, doctor’s office visits, medication, medical equipment, and alterations to your home and vehicle to accommodate disabilities caused by your injuries
- Ongoing personal care, if your injuries leave you needing assistance with daily activities
- Lost wages from missed work while you recover from your injuries
- Lost earning potential, if your injuries prevent you from returning to your pre-accident job
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life, such as from physical disabilities or disfigurement
- Property damage, such as the cost to repair or replace your damaged vehicle.
Depending on the circumstances, a person who suffers injury or property damage in a drunk driving accident may be entitled to punitive damages if the truck driver’s decision to drive while intoxicated is determined to be a particularly egregious or wanton act.
Spotting a Drunk Truck Driver
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, nearly one in every 2000 motor vehicle trips are conducted by someone drunk or intoxicated behind the wheel. When on the road, some signs that another motorist such as a truck driver may be intoxicated include:
- Weaving, or inability to stay in the lane of travel
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Driving at night or in low lighting conditions without headlights on
- Turning or changing lanes without signaling, especially when doing so abruptly or illegally
- Driving far below the posted speed limit on highways, or noticeably below the pace of traffic
- Driving at excessive and dangerous speeds
- Using brakes erratically
- Stopping at green lights or making other unusual actions.
If you believe you may be sharing the road with a drunk or drugged truck driver, you should:
- Call 911 and give the dispatcher information about your location, a description of the truck, and the truck’s license plate number or DOT registration number
- Never try to pass a suspected drunk truck driver – they may try to move into your lane as you are passing without signaling or checking their mirrors
- Let the police investigate and handle the situation
If you are sharing the road with a suspected drunk truck driver, the best course of action is to pull off the road when safe to do so and wait a little while before continuing your journey so that police have a chance to respond and get the truck driver off the road if necessary.
How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help Me?
After you’ve been involved in an accident with a drunk truck driver, a truck accident lawyer can help you seek the financial recovery and justice that you deserve by:
- Investigating your accident, securing evidence such as driver logs, truck black box data, the driver’s toxicology report, the load manifest, and the truck’s maintenance log
- Helping you document your injuries and damages
- Working with accident reconstruction specialists to build your case
- Identifying liable parties and sources of insurance coverage and negotiating on your behalf for a settlement
- Preparing your case for trial, if it becomes necessary
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident caused by an intoxicated truck driver, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries and damages.
Let the truck accident attorneys at Craig, Kelley & Faultless fight to get you the financial recovery you deserve. Call us at (800) 746-0226 or fill out the contact form on our website today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced drunk truck driver accident attorneys to discuss the details of your case and to learn more about your legal rights and options.