Drug & Alcohol Abuse by Truck Drivers
Just thinking about a commercial truck driver being impaired by alcohol or drugs and operating these vehicles is scary. Commercial trucks can weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, which basically puts the driver behind the wheel of a massive weapon that can cause significant injuries and property damage. Drug and alcohol impairment significantly alter a truck driver’s ability to uphold their duty of care on the roadway.
The Blood Alcohol Content Level for Truck Drivers
Commercial truck drivers have a heightened duty of care that they owe others around them. That is why commercial truck drivers have a lower acceptable blood alcohol content level than the law allows for traditional vehicle drivers.
The legal allowable blood alcohol content level for commercial truck drivers in all 50 states is .04%, which is less than half the allowable legal limit in every state except for Utah, which has a legal allowable limit of .05% for regular drivers.
Even though this is a legal allowable limit for commercial truck drivers, these drivers should not be operating vehicles with any type of substance in their system.
Alcohol and Drug Usage a Concern for Safety on the Roadway
Alcohol and drugs are a major safety concern for any driver on the roadway. Impairment is typically a leading cause of death in vehicle accidents in every state annually. Truck drivers could have a few drinks and think they are okay to drive, or they could indulge in various types of substances and get behind the wheel.
It is important to point out that both illegal and legal substances can lead to truck driver impairment. Aside from alcohol, a major concern is opioids, particularly as the opioid epidemic has rocked the country. However, cocaine and amphetamines could be used as a stimulant to help keep the truck driver awake, but this is also considered an illegal impairment.
Even though marijuana is becoming legal recreationally in more and more states, any impairment by this drug while a commercial truck driver is operating their vehicle is illegal.
Aside from illegal narcotics and alcohol, truck drivers could also become impaired as a result of over-the-counter or prescription medications. This can include seemingly innocuous sleep aids or even diet pills with stimulants.
When a driver is impaired, these substances could lead to a lack of judgment and delayed reaction time. They could also have caused the truck driver to engage in excessive speeds or other risky behaviors. If a drunk or drugged truck driver causes a vehicle accident in Oregon, it is likely that a victim will file a Portland personal injury lawsuit against the driver and the company. The victim needs to show that the driver was engaged in negligent conduct. If the driver receives a DUI charge as a result of the incident, this could make proving driver negligence easier.
We strongly encourage any crash victim to reach out to a skilled Portland truck accident lawyer who can examine the facts of their case and help them recover the compensation they are entitled to.