Truck Accidents Caused by Driver Intoxication
Driver intoxication is a growing problem in Houston not just with car drivers but also with truck drivers and it causes many truck accidents. Just as with other vehicles, intoxicated drivers of large trucks are horribly dangerous and can cause serious injuries in a crash.
Big-rig 18-wheeler truck drivers should be held to an even higher standard than auto drivers because of the dangerous consequences. An intoxicated big rig driver on Texas roads is playing Russian roulette with the rest of the folks on the road.
Whether the result of the consumption of alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs or other intoxicating substances, the consequences are often the same – accidents. Just because somebody is trained to drive a big rig does not mean that they have not violated the law by doing so while intoxicated and putting the public in danger of a truck accident.
A drunk truck driver not only breaks the law but also subjects themselves (and possibly their employer) to the imposition of punitive damages being awarded to their victims in the event of a crash.
Many people who are injured in accidents will ask, can I sue a drunk truck driver who hit me?
The answer is Yes.
Government targets drunk truck drivers who cause accidents
Many things can cause serious automobile accidents in Houston every day. Despite legislative efforts, for example, there are drivers who continue to text while driving. Driver Fatigue is commonly known to be a concern among truck drivers who spend long hours on the road. Drinking and driving a truck is yet another choice of drivers that can leave victims injured or even claim their lives. When this choice is made by truck drivers, the consequences can grow with the addition of the heavy weight and large size of the trucks involved.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2011, 43 people in the United States died in drunk driving accidents involving large trucks. The following year, that number increased to 86. Houston is no different. The risks that impaired commercial truck drivers pose to all motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists is real and it is this risk that the federal government is aiming to tackle with its new database and associated rules.
What is the government’s new database?
The agency that is responsible for commercial truck transportation is called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It is this group that is currently creating a database where employers can conduct pre-employment screenings as well as yearly employee reviews to get information about commercial drivers’ drug and alcohol use or test results. The database and the guidelines that will accompany it are referred to as Commercial Driver’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule according to the Commercial Carrier Journal. Its goal is clear, to reduce accidents caused by commercial drivers operating vehicles while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
What will be required of truck driver employers to reduce accidents?
People who hire commercial drivers in Texas will be required to follow specific procedures both during the hiring process and once drivers have been hired. These include:
- Conducting a pre-employment screen that fully reviews a truck driver candidate’s database records.
- Requesting a pre-employment substance screening for the truck driver.
- Reporting the results from a pre-employment truck driver screening to the database.
- Conducting annual reviews of a truck driver employee’s database records.
For any commercial truck driver candidate that refuses to take the requested pre-employment substance screening, the employer must report that refusal to the database as well. That candidate can be hired but only for a position that does not involve driving.
For truck drivers that own and operate their own vehicles, outsourced third parties must be utilized for the database record reviews.
What should truck accident victims do?
Any person who has been involved in a truck accident should get a consultation with an attorney promptly. Securing help in these situations is an important step to receiving the appropriate compensation. If you or a loved one has been injured by an intoxicated truck driver, contact one of our Houston Truck Accident Lawyers now.