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Alcohol & Drug Use Lead to Commercial Truck Accidents

Steve Wagner

Any truck that runs on the road for commercial reasons is called a commercial truck. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) records 50,000 trucking accidents every year, of which 5000 result in casualties. One out of eight traffic casualties is the result of a trucking accident.

Based on their size and purpose, commercial trucks are classified into four types, including

1. Eighteen wheelers – Huge trucks that weigh over 80,000 pounds and have 18 wheels.
2. Tankers – Trucks that carry liquids such as water, chemicals, petrol.
3. Freight vehicles – Small and large trucks used in transporting commercial products.
4. Delivery vehicles – Trucks used for deliveries like delivering couriers, flowers, ice.

Why Do Commercial Trucking Accidents Occur?

A commercial trucking accident is caused when a commercial truck hits other vehicles or people on the road. Such accidents could turn out to be extremely fatal due to the huge size of the vehicle, and the kind of load it transports.

A commercial trucking accident may occur due to:

  • Use of alcohol and drugs by the truck driver
  • Driver fatigue
  • Crossing of the legal speed limit
  • Truck overload
  • Vehicle being in motion without the goods being secured properly
  • Ignorance of slippery, sloppy or uneven road conditions
  • Taking fast turns

Alcohol & Drug Use in Truck Drivers

Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the major reasons of fatal trucking accidents in the US. Reports say that 2.2% of every trucking accident in Indiana, happens when the truck driver is under the influence of alcohol.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports that the usage of alcohol and drugs among truck drivers is the second largest contributor of trucking accidents.

The common drugs, other than alcohol, used by truck drivers are marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines. Drivers tend to use such drugs and alcohol due to:

  • A feeling of isolation during long drives
  • The tedious nature of the job, which involves staying awake for long durations
  • Lack of communication with people
  • Weak relationships between life partners

DUI thus becomes a serious concern and has to be addressed effectively among commercial truck drivers.

How to Claim Compensation

The victim of a commercial truck accident can claim compensation if the truck driver is at fault. However, to prove liability and recover damages, it is important to establish negligence and carelessness on the part of the driver. The damages can be recovered either from the truck driver or from the company that hired him.

Types of Compensation

As per the law, the victim of a drunk driving trucking accident can claim the below damages:

  • Economic damages- Medical costs and loss of wages
  • Non-economic damages- Compensation for pain and mental agony
  • Punitive damages – Punishment of the driver at fault for his negligent actions

If you or your loved ones have sustained injuries in a truck accident, due to the negligence of the truck driver, do contact us at (888) 204-8440 for a free consultation of your case. The truck accident attorneys at Wagner Reese will build a strong case for you to attain maximum compensation.


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