How an Impaired Truck Driver Affects a Truck Accident Claim

If an impaired truck driver caused you or a loved one to be injured in a crash, compensation could be available through a truck accident claim. The trucking industry is federally regulated and must abide by Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations for drunk driving and drug use. 

It is difficult to imagine that a truck driver would ever get behind the wheel of a semi while impaired. Yet, it is an unfortunate occurrence. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009, there were 3,187 truck drivers involved in fatal crashes with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or higher. 

We know that navigating the freeway system in Atlanta can be challenging enough, especially on I-20 and I-75. But no matter what roads you travel or commute on, if you or someone you love was injured in a truck crash, seeking legal counsel is imperative. You want a lawyer to review the circumstances of your case to determine if you may be able to file a claim. 

Alcohol and Drug Rules for Truck Drivers 

Drivers with a commercial drivers license (CDL) are required to undergo alcohol and drug testing. DOT regulations regarding drunk driving include breath alcohol testing and urine drug testing prior to being hired and at random intervals during employment. 

If there is suspicion that your accident was caused by an impaired truck driver, an alcohol and/or drug test must be performed. Whether it’s the driver’s appearance or behavior that raises red flags, he or she cannot refuse the test. 

According to regulations, the use of illicit drugs is prohibited not only when a truck driver is on duty, but also while off duty. Even certain legally prescribed controlled substances are not allowed in some cases, such as amphetamines or barbiturates. In addition, alcohol use is prohibited during or within four hours before operating a big rig. What’s more, drivers must not have a BAC of .04 or higher while operating the truck. 

Filing a Truck Accident Claim Stemming from an Impaired Truck Driver 

Impairment can result in a driver becoming sleepy at the wheel, improperly reacting to dangers and making misjudgments. These situations increase the risk of an accident. 

In order to seek compensation through a claim, you will need to gather evidence that shows the driver was reckless. The police report may show that the driver was given a citation or that a field sobriety test was issued. 

Even if the driver doesn’t receive a drug or alcohol test at the scene of the accident but does so later on, an attorney may be able to get those results. If the test shows the driver was impaired, this can make for a stronger case. 

Witnesses may be able to provide a statement as to certain behaviors or actions that looked suspicious. Disheveled clothing, bloodshot eyes, stumbling and slurring of words are just some of the potential indications of an impaired truck driver. 

Building a strong case will increase your chance of recovering damages. While the driver may end up being liable for your injuries if he or she was in violation of DOT regulations for drunk driving, in some cases, the trucking company could be liable as well. 

A truck accident claim can address the medical expenses incurred and earnings that have been lost. In addition, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, reduced quality of life, disability and more. 

Seeking Help from an Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney 

Contact an attorney from the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz to learn about your legal rights. We can evaluate your case to determine if you have a viable truck accident claim. Additionally, we will explain how an impaired truck driver may affect your claim.