Deciding to drive after using drugs or drinking too much alcohol is dangerous for anyone. Driving under the influence of substances becomes significantly more dangerous, however, if the vehicle being driven is a large commercial semi-truck. These trucks are ten times the size of most passenger vehicles and can weigh 20-30 times more.1 If an impaired truck driver loses control, devastating collisions and catastrophic injuries can occur.
Substance abuse in the trucking industry
Using illegal drugs and driving a truck while intoxicated are strictly prohibited by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.2 If fact, commercial truck drivers are held to a stricter standard than other drivers for impaired driving. The typical legal threshold for drunk driving is 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). Trucks driver, however, can be charged and convicted of drunk driving with only a 0.04 percent BAC, which can often occur by having only one or two drinks depending on a person's size and other factors. The law sets out harsh consequences for commercial drivers found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI), including prolonged suspension of their commercial driver's license (CDL), fines, and even jail time.
Despite the strict laws and potentially serious penalties for driving while impaired, studies in recent years3 indicate that substance use is common in the commercial trucking industry. Many truck drivers use unlawful stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamine to try to stay awake and drive longer shifts. Other drivers may use substances such as marijuana or alcohol to entertain themselves during boring monotonous shifts or as self-medication for depression or loneliness, which are common among truck drivers. Drugs are even commonly easy to find at truck stops or other locations frequented by truck drivers.
Anytime a commercial truck driver decides to operate a truck after drinking or drug use, the chances of severe accidents and injuries are high. Some of the injuries commonly sustained by other motorists in DUI truck accidents include as follows:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Severe burns
- Internal organ damage and bleeding
- Crushed or shattered bones
- Joint separations
- Soft tissue tears
In addition to any criminal penalties impaired truck drivers may face, they also may face substantial civil and financial liability to compensate any injured victims for all of the losses they sustained in the accident.
Call for a free consultation with a Michigan truck accident lawyer today
The is simply no excuse for a commercial driver who gets behind the wheel of a large truck while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or for a trucking company that allows such recklessness to occur. The Michigan truck accident attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers are committed to holding negligent trucking companies and drivers fully liable for all of the losses of injured truck accident victims. We will help you through every stage of your case and will provide zealous representation of your legal rights to recovery. If you have been injured, please call to discuss a possible case for free at 888-454-0801 as soon as possible.