New Law Aimed at Reducing Unsecured Load Truck Accidents in Ohio
Posted in: Truck Accidents
Truckers, particularly long-haul drivers, are encouraged to drive as far and as long as they can. Many carriers put pressure on truckers to make faster times, even if this means skirting hours-of-service rules.
To combat drowsiness, some truckers drive under the influence of stimulant drugs to keep them awake and – so they believe – more vigilant.
If you were injured in a truck accident that you believe was caused by a trucker driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, call the experienced Ohio truck accident lawyers of Kisling, Nestico & Redick as soon as possible.
We will investigate your accident, including looking into the motor carrier’s drug and alcohol testing policies and the trucker’s driving record, to recover compensation.
Call us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule a free consultation.
Truckers driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol are more likely to cause trucking accidents that lead to injuries and fatalities.
Truckers should have a steady hand and a clear mind, both of which are compromised by drug and alcohol use. Commonly used stimulants often have unintended consequences such as making drivers careless, reckless, paranoid, and more prone to risky behavior.
Many truckers fall into the trap of using illegal drugs to stay awake, work longer hours, and arrive at their destination sooner. Some of the most commonly abused drugs include:
Amphetamines stimulate the central nervous system. Lawfully, these types of drugs are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. Illegally, people take them to feel awake or even euphoric. These drugs can be habit-forming and cause dangerous interactions with other pharmaceuticals, like MAO inhibitors.
While truckers may take amphetamines to stay awake and alert, these drugs can have negative side effects like high blood pressure, anxiety, and agitation. If someone takes too much, they can suffer from restlessness, muscle twitches or tremors, rapid breathing, panic, hostility, and violence – side effects that can cause a trucker to drive recklessly or aggressively.
Also known as meth, crystal meth, or speed, this drug is similar to amphetamines. It works by increasing the production of dopamine in the brain, which causes a euphoric feeling. However, unlike amphetamines, there is no lawful form of meth used to treat any type of illness.
Methamphetamine is highly addictive, and people have been known to take it continuously to stay awake for multiple days in a row.
The short-term side effects of meth include increased physical activity, fast breathing, rapid and irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and higher body temperature.
When it is used over an extended period, it can lead to anxiety, confusion, risky behavior, poor judgment and decision-making, reduced coordination, paranoia, hallucinations, and violent behavior – issues that can make experienced truckers dangerous on the roads.
Cocaine, like amphetamines, stimulates the central nervous system and increases the level of dopamine in the brain. In the short-term, cocaine makes individuals feel awake, alert, energetic, and hypersensitive.
It can also make them feel irritable, paranoid, restless, and experience hallucinations. Large amounts of cocaine taken in a short duration can lead to unpredictable and violent behavior.
OTC supplements in and of themselves can be dangerous, lead to dangerous drug interactions, and may contain ingredients that are not listed on the label.
Supplements intended to increase wakefulness and improve attention can include caffeine, Methylsynephrine, and other stimulants that cause irregular heartbeats, rapid heart rates, and heart attacks, particularly if combined.
Truckers may also have heard about the off-label benefits of diet supplements, which often increase a person’s energy. However, these may be particularly dangerous to use on the road as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found more than one diet supplement over the years includes illegal and unmarked amphetamine derivatives that can cause severe side effects.
While many truckers use stimulants to stay awake, others have one too many drinks during their rest breaks and head back onto the road.
Both of these actions are illegal since federal law states truckers cannot use controlled substances or alcohol while on duty or within four hours of needing to perform work duties, like operate a semi.
Truckers are also held to a higher standard when it comes to alcohol in their systems and being liable for DUIs. Federal regulations specifically state drivers should not have any measured alcohol concentration or detectable presence of alcohol in their systems while operating a commercial vehicle.
The legal alcohol limit for CDL holders while driving a commercial vehicle is .04 percent – far lower than the legal limit of .08 percent for the average person. A breath or blood test that comes back at .04 percent or higher will lead to a DUI for a trucker. However, coming back with any alcohol in their system could lead to being fired.
Truck accidents with an impaired driver, whether intoxicated by a stimulant or alcohol, it follows the same legal standard of negligence. Proving a negligence claim requires you to demonstrate four specific elements:
In most cases, a drunk driving truck accident claim will depend on showing the driver was impaired. When truckers drive under the influence, they are essentially breaching their duty to other motorists, which increases the possibility of an injury-causing accident. From there, you need to show the injuries you suffered resulting in financial and physical harm.
There are also times when the trucking company can be liable for an impaired trucker’s actions. For instance, if the company knew their employees were using simulants to drive longer or failed to properly screen a driver and hired a trucker with prior DUIs, they could also be liable.
When you are injured in a truck crash because the truck driver was impaired, you are entitled to pursue compensation for your various financial losses. Your lawyer can help you document and recover all your physical, emotional, and economic damages.
Through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, KNR will fight hard for you to recover your:
Most truck accident cases settle. However, do not expect a quick and easy insurance process. Insurance companies work hard to reduce what they owe by denying the trucker was intoxicated. While an insurance settlement might be ideal, you may also need to file a lawsuit and present evidence the other driver’s impairment caused your accident and injuries.
While truckers use drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both to work longer hours, stay awake, and relax a little on the job, these have severe physical and psychological consequences, which make truckers unreliable and hazardous behind the wheel of a vehicle that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. If you were hurt in an accident caused by an intoxicated trucker, call us at Kisling, Nestico & Redick right away.
As one of the largest personal injury firms in Ohio, we have the experience, skills, and resources necessary to thoroughly investigate the collision, gather evidence of the trucker’s negligence, and seek to obtain the compensation you deserve.
We know federal and state commercial trucking laws and how trucking companies operate. This insight enables us to take full advantage of the legal discovery process and gather documentation and deposition testimony that may support your claim.
If you believe drugs or alcohol were involved, we will determine whether the trucking company was compliant with the law, whether the trucker had any DUI or drug offenses on his or her record, and whether there was evidence of drug or alcohol use at the time of the collision.
Call KNR today at 1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule a free consultation. We will put one of our experienced personal injury attorneys to work for you.