A truck driver, or any driver for that matter, is considered “impaired” when their mental capacity, reasoning skills, and judgment are unable to result in a safe decision. A truck driver who is impaired is deadly – more deadly than an impaired driver of a passenger vehicle. This is because semi-trucks are heavy and can cause extensive damage if they are involved in a car accident (read more about how fatal trucking accidents can be).
While trucking companies are required by law to screen their drivers for previous DUIs and test regularly for drugs and alcohol abuse, drivers are able to slip through the cracks or avoid testing positive – even when they drive impaired. To fully understand the seriousness of this issue, you must first understand how impairment affects a truck driver’s ability to stay safe on the road.
Alcohol slows a person’s response, reflexes, and impairs judgment. This means a person who is intoxicated behind the wheel may not be able to respond to braking vehicles ahead of them, stop signs, or maneuver properly.
Drugs, including prescription medications, may cause drowsiness, which can alter a person’s ability to respond appropriately on the road. Some truckers have been known for taking medications that help them stay awake, but as these drugs wear off, a person can become drowsy and unresponsive.
Sometimes truck drivers are not impaired from drugs or alcohol; instead, their impairment is due to a lack of sleep. This is because truck drivers are under extreme demands to meet deadlines (read more about fatigued truckers), which may mean driving several days in a row without adequate sleep. Even though the federal government enforces strict laws regarding how long a driver can be on the road, drivers and trucking companies do not always follow them.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident with a semi-truck, you must prove that the driver was impaired or at fault in some way. There are some impairments that are easier to prove than others: Police will immediately test for the presence of drugs and alcohol.
It is in your best interest to contact a trucking accident lawyer. An attorney can conduct his or her own investigation to help determine if the driver was impaired at the time of the accident. A successful claim against a truck driver or his or her employer can help recover damages, such as disability, loss of wages, medical expenses, and more.
Contact the Law Team at Fetterman & Associates, PA today for a free consultation regarding your car accident. Our attorneys will vigorously represent your case against the impaired trucker and get you the compensation you deserve. Call us for an appointment now at 561-845-2510.