The drivers of large commercial trucks are professionals. They should know that they jeopardize their safety and the safety of everyone else on the road if they try to operate a mammoth 18-wheeler while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately, many truck drivers ignore obvious safety risks, drive while impaired and cause accidents that carry devastating consequences for victims and their families. If you suspect that a truck driver’s alcohol or drug abuse contributed to a crash that left you with serious injuries or caused the loss of a loved one, you should get help from an experienced truck accident lawyer right away. Make Jebaily Law Firm your first call. We can provide a free consultation and start work on your case today.
Our attorneys have fought for truck accident victims in Florence and throughout South Carolina for Over 50 Years. We know what it takes to hold careless and reckless truck drivers accountable for drunk driving and drugged driving accidents. We also know how to demand accountability from trucking companies. You can count on us to explore all legal options available to you and pursue full compensation for your losses.
Trucking Accident Attorneys: Drunk Driving Laws
South Carolina, like many states, holds drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to a higher standard than other drivers. For instance, it is illegal for a person with a CDL to operate a commercial motor vehicle when the driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 or higher. In contrast, for other drivers, the legal BAC limit is 0.08.
Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers to undergo extensive alcohol and drug testing. The FMCSA regulations require trucking companies to administer tests:
- Before the company hires a driver
- After the driver is involved in a crash
- Randomly throughout the year
- Whenever there is any reasonable suspicion that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The trucking company must immediately remove the driver from duty if the driver refuses to undergo a test, has a BAC of 0.04 or higher or tests positive for:
- Amphetamines and methamphetamines
- Phencyclidine (PCP).
If a driver fails the test or refuses to take one, the driver cannot return to duty unless the driver first goes through a process that includes substance abuse counseling and additional alcohol and drug tests.
Is Alcohol and Drug Abuse a Problem Among Truck Drivers?
State and federal rules focus on alcohol and drug use by truck drivers for a good reason. It is dangerous for a driver to operate any vehicle while impaired. The size and weight of most commercial trucks makes the danger even greater. Use of alcohol and drugs – including certain types of prescription medications – can cause a truck driver to:
- Lack concentration and motor control
- Make poor, high-risk decisions
- Experience other dangerous side effects such as drowsiness, over-excitement or hallucinations.
Despite strict rules and clear safety risks, many truck drivers in South Carolina and elsewhere drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. As Reuters reports, a study published in 2013 analyzed truck driver surveys and test results from around the world. In the surveys, on average, roughly half of drivers admitted they engaged in drinking and driving, while 30 percent said they used amphetamines. Additionally, nearly 20 percent of drivers reported marijuana use, and three percent admitted to cocaine use.
The study revealed that the physical and mental demands of truck driving contribute to drivers’ alcohol and drug abuse. However, those factors only explain why truckers may drive while impaired. They do not excuse such completely careless and reckless conduct. In reality, nothing excuses it.
Drunk or Drugged Truck Accident in Florence: Who is Liable?
Jebaily Law Firm conducts immediate investigations of truck accidents. Our attorneys have more than 100 years of combined legal experience and have handled numerous tractor-trailer accident cases in South Carolina. We know how to move quickly in these cases in order to preserve, collect and analyze evidence, including the results of the truck driver’s urine and/or blood tests. Those test results often serve as crucial evidence.
If the evidence establishes that the truck driver was impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, and the driver’s impairment caused the crash, the driver may be held accountable through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. However, the driver may not be the only liable party. Jebaily Law Firm will use our investigation to identify all other parties who could be named in a truck accident lawsuit.
Often, the trucking company that employed the drunk or drugged truck driver is legally responsible as well. The company’s liability could be based on the legal principle that holds employers responsible for negligent actions that their employees commit while on the job. It could also be based on the trucking company’s own negligence. For instance, the company may have:
- Hired a driver without conducting an adequate background check into the driver’s arrest and accident history.
- Failed to conduct required alcohol and drug screening before and/or after the company hired the driver.
- Failed to take proper steps to keep the driver off the road if the driver refused to take a test or tested positive for alcohol or drugs.
- Neglected to develop a written company policy on alcohol and drug use by its truck drivers.
- Failed to properly train and supervise its drivers or the supervisors who should monitor drivers for alcohol and drug use.
If you suffered harm in a collision with a commercial truck, our trucking accident attorney in Florence will pursue the maximum amount for you, including compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering. We may also pursue punitive damages. Those damages can provide significant additional compensation. Punitive damages can also send a strong message to the trucking industry.
Our Florence Trucking Accident Attorneys Are Ready to Help You
For over 50 Years, Jebaily Law Firm has protected the rights of our clients and advocated for the safety and well-being of all South Carolina citizens. If you or a loved one suffered harm at the hands of a truck driver who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, we will work tirelessly to pursue just compensation for you and hold the truck driver and trucking company fully accountable. To learn more, contact us today for a free consultation.