Much is written about drunk driving accidents in Homestead and across the country. According to government statistics, there were 33,625 DUI convictions in Florida in 2011 alone. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving is a national epidemic, with a person being injured in a drunk driving accident, on average, every ninety seconds. In 2011, 9,878 Americans were killed in traffic collisions involving drunk driving.
But how many of those accidents involve commercial truck drivers?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers have a lower instance of DUI when compared with other motorists, in part because the rules for drivers of big rigs and tractor trailers are stricter. According to the FMCSA, commercial truck drivers must pass pre-employment screening as well as post-crash and random alcohol and drug tests. The FMCSA also runs a Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey of truck drivers and these surveys show that positive drug and alcohol tests for commercial drivers are at about 1%.
However, a recent review of crash literature and studies conducted by Edmarlon Girotto of the Universidade Estadual de Londrina in the Brazilian state of Parana found that drugs and alcohol may be a bigger concern than many have thought. His research suggests that about 30% of truck drivers worldwide admitted to using amphetamines and about one in two admitted to drinking and driving on the job. Girotto also found a study from the U.S. showing a 12.5% rate of positive alcohol tests – the highest in the world and in stark contrast to the FMCSA’s findings.
So who is right? Do commercial truck drivers really help prevent car and truck accidents in Homestead and other communities by refusing to drive under the influence or is DUI driving a major cause of traffic accidents on our streets?
Research conflicts on the subject, although most research does suggest that commercial truck drivers do have lower risks of accidents and injuries when compared with passenger car drivers. The stricter regulations and more careful screening and training could be part of the reason for that. However, there is no doubt that even a single traffic accident in Homestead caused by drunk driving is unacceptable, since these accidents are completely preventable.
Fortunately, in cases where a motorist is injured by a drunk driver, they do have options. If the at-fault driver is a commercial truck driver, the injured motorist can pursue criminal charges as well as a legal claim against the truck driver, motor carrier, and other possible liable parties. This allows the plaintiff to look for compensation for lost income, medical bills, and other expenses related to their injuries. It also sends a very strong message to both the motor carriers and truck drivers that DUI accidents will not be tolerated. When motor carriers stand to lose significant money due to DUI accidents and when truck drivers stand to lose their jobs and income, more strides may be made in eradicating drinking and driving.
Have you been injured by a drunk driver? Flaxman Law Group is a full-service law firm with a team of car accident and personal injury attorneys to serve you. Contact us today for a free appointment to review your case.