Truck Accident: Coverage of the Compensation the Liable Party should Pay

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires the following from truck drivers:

  • Not operate their truck or any type of commercial vehicle within four hours of using alcohol;
  • Submit to a regular, random drug and alcohol testing (this is part of the FMCSA’s safety program); and,
  • Strictly observe the 0.04 percent blood-alcohol concentration limit, which is the BAC limit for drivers of commercial vehicles.

A semi-trailer’s length and weight make it necessary that it be operated only by a licensed commercial vehicle driver who, it is supposed, has received proper trainer, has developed the required skills and has passed the tests required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Despite all these qualifications, though, once on the road, many of these drivers lay aside the rules on safe driving in order to complete a job as fast as they can and get the chance to do another – all for a higher take home pay. What this means, however, is longer time on the road, little time of rest between driving duties and, at times, taking drugs or drinking alcohol during stops.

In a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), out of 91 long-distance truck drivers who were asked to answer a questionnaire which would assess incidences of alcohol and amphetamine use (amphetamine is an addictive, mood-altering synthetic drug, used illegally as a stimulant), 66% of the respondents admitted to having used the stimulant during their travels, while 91% admitted to having consumed alcohol.

Alcohol not only impairs a driver’s motor skills and mental capacity, but also affects his/her reaction time, perception, judgment, general ability to focus on the road, and coordination. The impairment it causes, which increases risks of accidents, injuries and deaths, is the major reason why alcohol-impaired driving is a considered a major traffic violation and why the law holds drunk drivers totally liable for any accident that may result from their imprudent decision to drink and drive.

Because commercial vehicles are significantly larger than other vehicles on the road, truck drivers must exercise extreme caution while operating their vehicles in an effort to reduce the possibility of an accident; however, many truck drivers consciously disregard the safety of others on roadways by driving intoxicated. Due to their careless and reckless behavior, despite their special training, skills and experience, many continue to cause fatal accidents.

In its website, the Sampson Law Firm explains that holding truck drivers or trucking companies responsible for the tragic outcome of accidents means pursuing legal action to seek compensation that should cover:

  • Medical expenses involving any operations or hospital stay;
  • Cost of prescription medication and rehabilitation;
  • Lost wages;
  • Pain and suffering; and,
  • Wrongful death of a loved one.