Truck Driver DUIs
A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) can cost motor vehicle drivers their license. For semi tractor trailer and other large truck drivers, it could cost them their career. The statistics for truck accidents caused by drunk driving are relatively low, due in part to the fact that trucking companies are reluctant to hire drivers with past convictions. This could change, as the trend towards hiring truckers who are independent contractors or operate on a ‘for hire’ basis could result in lower standards when it comes to drivers with prior DUIs.
Trucking Companies Vs. For Hire Drivers
According to the Truckers Report, the chances of being hired by a trucking company for a driver with a prior DUI conviction are relatively low, even if the DUI occurred during their off hours and while driving their own personal vehicle. Whereas some smaller or less legitimate companies may consider a trucker with a DUI that is five or ten years old, most respected names within the trucking industry are unwilling to take the risk, regardless of how long ago the DUI occurred.
Hiring a driver with any traffic violations, much less a DUI, means higher insurance costs and the potential for increased liability. As these companies are already forced to lay out large sums of money in order to comply with strict regulations, hiring a driver with a record makes poor financial sense. Drivers with a prior DUI conviction do have the option of seeking work as a ‘for hire’ driver, contracting out on individual jobs. According to the Balance, companies who rely on truckers who act as independent contractors face limited liability as these drivers are not technically employees. While they are still subject to federal regulations, they can operate at a lower cost, requiring drivers to obtain their own commercial vehicle insurance.
DUI Accidents Involving Truckers
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that while driving under the influence is responsible for less than 10 percent of all truck driving accidents, impacts are likely to be more severe. Truck drivers who engage in drunk driving are more likely to engage in the following types of dangerous driving behaviors while under the influence:
- Aggressive driving, such as tailgating and improper passing;
- Speeding and going too fast for conditions;
- Running red lights and disregarding traffic sign;
- Distracted driving and general difficulties focusing on the road and the task of driving;
- Falling asleep or passing out behind the wheel.
As a result of alcohol use, drivers may also be more likely to be carrying overweight or improperly balanced loads, and may have overlooked basic maintenance tasks, such as checking tire pressure or securing all latches.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
Truck accidents often involve potentially life threatening and fatal injuries. If you or someone you care about has been injured in this type of accident, contact the Wexler Law Firm, P.A. right away. We can arrange a consultation with our West Palm Beach car accident attorney to discuss your case and the options available in seeking compensation for the damages you suffered.