Alcohol-Related Florida Trucking Accidents
Truck Driving DUI Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control, accidents involving drunk drivers are responsible for roughly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 51 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $59 billion. When the accident involves a large commercial truck, the risk of fatalities is even higher. When it comes to driving while drunk or on drugs, truck drivers are held to a higher standard than other motorists. They are responsible for safely operating large rigs, and for this reason, they are required to take extra precautions to ensure they are not impaired on the road. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck driver DUI accident, it is important to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney so you fully understand your rights.
Truck Driver DUI Liability in Florida
Most states, including Florida, have adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations for commercial drivers and alcohol, which set a 0.04 percent blood-alcohol concentration limit. This is half the BAC limit for non-commercial drivers in most states. The FMCSA rules also stipulate that commercial drivers may not operate a commercial vehicle within four hours of using alcohol. Florida Statute 322.64 states that any holder of a commercial drivers license (CDL) that is arrested for driving any vehicle while at or over the legal BAC limit, or who refuses to submit to alcohol testing, will result in mandatory disqualification of their CDL.
If a truck driver is driving while drunk or on drugs and causes an accident, there could be multiple parties responsible. In addition to the driver, the trucking company may be held liable if the driver is an employee. Even if the driver is self-employed and works for the company as an independent contractor, the company may still be held liable in certain circumstances. Under the Illinois Liquor Control Act (also known as the dram shop law), establishments that serve alcohol to the driver can also be held liable if it can be proven that the alcohol served contributed significantly to his or her intoxication.
Alcohol and Drug Tests for Florida Commercial Drivers
When truck drivers make the decision to get behind the wheel when they are intoxicated, they put everyone else on the road with them at risk of serious injury. Big rigs require every ounce of the driver’s skill and attention to operate safely under normal conditions. When drivers attempt to operate them after having a few drinks, the results can be catastrophic.
Commercial drivers may be required to submit to alcohol testing randomly, after an accident, where there is reasonable suspicion, or as a condition of returning to duty following an alcohol policy violation. In addition to alcohol testing, the FMCSA regulations allow for drug testing in the following circumstances: as a condition of employment, where there is reasonable suspicion, after an accident and as a condition of returning to duty following a drug policy violation. The following drugs are often screened: marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and phencyclidine (PCP). When pulled over on suspicion of DUI, commercial drivers also face harsher penalties for refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test. Under FMCSA rules, refusal to take a blood alcohol test is the equivalent of pleading guilty to DUI.
Call an Experienced Florida Truck Accident Attorney
Trucking accidents caused by driving while drunk or on drugs are senseless and preventable. If you have been involved in an accident with a truck driver who has consumed alcohol, it is necessary to speak to a skilled Florida truck accident attorney to hold those responsible for such accidents fully accountable, so they do not continue their reckless behavior. At the Dolman Law Group in Florida, our team of truck accident lawyers are aggressive advocates for our clients, working tirelessly to obtain full compensation for the physical, financial and emotional toll the accident takes on you and your family. Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756