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Truck Drivers Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

If you were injured in a truck accident and suspect the driver might have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it’s crucial that you act quickly before valuable evidence is lost or destroyed. An experienced Houston truck accident lawyer from The Doan Law Firm can discuss your legal rights and options during a free case review.

Dangers of Impaired Driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the following types of effects of alcohol on driving:

  • Slowed reaction time
  • Reduced concentration
  • Impaired depth perception
  • Blurred vision
  • Decreased hand-eye coordination
  • Greater likelihood of falling asleep behind the wheel
  • Difficulty maintaining speed and the lane
  • Poor judgment
  • Memory loss

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that marijuana and other drugs can slow coordination, judgment, and reaction times, while cocaine and methamphetamine can make drivers more aggressive and reckless. Using two or more drugs or drugs and alcohol at the same time can amplify the impairing effects of each drug.

When you combine these impairments with a vehicle that weighs up to 80,000 pounds, the results can be catastrophic.

How Common Are Truck Accidents Caused by Drugs or Alcohol?

Of the 16,918 total fatal drunk driving crashes in 2021, 150 of them involved drivers of large trucks, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or 3% of all fatal drunk driving crashes. However, it is likely that these numbers are under-reported because truck drivers and their employers will not want to take responsibility and the victim is unable to provide their version of events.

Employer Responsibilities Regarding Impaired Driving

Employers are responsible for testing their drivers for drugs and alcohol. This includes all CDL drivers who operate a commercial motor vehicle on public roadways. These drivers must be DOT drug and alcohol tested at the following times:

  • Pre-employment – New drivers must receive a negative test result before an employer can allow them to operate their commercial motor vehicle on a public road.
  • After an accident – Truck drivers must be drug and alcohol tested after they have been involved in a fatal accident or they have received a citation for an accident that resulted in an injury or disabled vehicle. Alcohol tests must be taken within eight hours and drug tests must be taken within 32 hours from the time of the accident.
  • Random testing – Commercial motor vehicle drivers are also subject to random testing, which can occur even when the driver is at home and off duty for drug tests. Alcohol testing can occur while the driver is on duty or immediately before or after they are on duty. The driver must immediately report for testing.
  • Reasonable suspicion – If an employer has reasonable suspicion that one of their drivers is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can direct a driver to be tested.
  • Return-to-duty – After a driver has tested positive for drugs or alcohol, they must complete return-to-duty tests, which require direct observation.
  • Follow-up – Additional follow-up drug and alcohol tests may be required by the substance abuse professional after a driver tests positive for drugs or alcohol.

Employers can be held responsible for a driver’s negligence. Additionally, they can be held responsible for their own negligence, such as hiring drivers with known safety risks or not following DOT rules for drug and alcohol testing.

How Can a Lawyer Help After an Accident Involving an Impaired Truck Driver?

If an impaired truck driver crashed into your vehicle, an experienced car accident lawyer in Houston can conduct a thorough investigation into the accident and gather strong evidence to prove your claim, such as:

  • Personnel records
  • Drug and alcohol test results
  • Black box data from the truck
  • Accident reports
  • Photos or videos of the accident scene
  • Witness statements

We can also explore all options for your financial recovery.

Contact The Doan Law Firm for Help with Your Case

If you were injured in a truck accident caused by a drunk driver, you should not have to shoulder the financial burden. Our truck accident attorneys can fight for your fair compensation. Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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