Georgia Alcohol and Drug-Related Trucking Accidents - Montlick & Associates
Driving a large truck after consuming any substance that impairs the driver's ability to operate the vehicle safely can lead to deadly accidents. No driver in Georgia has permission to operate a vehicle after having consumed a narcotic drug. Additionally, no driver can lawfully operate any motor vehicle in Georgia while under the influence of an over-the-counter medication either. Alternatively, Georgia enforces a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% as per se unlawful. Truck drivers operating on a Commercial Driver's License, or CDL, have a much lower legal threshold. A CDL holder violates Georgia law (as well as the law in all other states) if the truck driver has a BAC of 0.04% or higher. That essentially means that truck drivers should not have any alcohol in their systems while operating their large trucks.
Tractor-trailer drivers need all of their faculties to safely operate their vehicles. Large trucks pose a more significant challenge to drive than the average passenger car on the road today. The size of a commercial truck, coupled with the speeds attainable with modern engines, make large trucks potentially destructive devices. Consequently, an 18-wheeler operator must be fully cognizant of his or her operation in addition to carefully watching the other vehicles on the road as well. Any error in judgment, sleepiness, loss of vision, diminished reaction time, or reduced hand-eye coordination can lead to a disastrous collision between a big rig and a smaller, lighter auto, and even kill or seriously injure an innocent victim.
The Frequency of Alcohol and Drug Use in Trucking Accidents
Statistics show that large truck operators are more likely to operate their vehicles after ingesting an illegal drug or over-the-counter medicine rather than alcohol. Recent data suggestthat truck drivers consumed unlawful amounts of alcohol in only about 1% of all accidents in which large trucks collided with a passenger car. Likewise, about 2% of drivers took illegal drugs before experiencing a crash. Conversely, investigations revealed that 26% of truck drivers took over-the-counter medications before getting into a accidents.
Not surprisingly, one study determined that a substantial number of truckers encountered roadside during the survey took one form or another of a stimulant drug. Stimulants such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and phentermine showed up in about 9% of the truckers tested during the trial. The findings intuitively make sense. Truck drivers must stay awake and be alert without fail. Any lapse in attention or bout of fatigue could turn lethal. Stimulants help drivers stay awake and alert, but only for short spans of time. These drugs can also impair judgment and make a driver irritable.
Another drug commonly found in drivers is cannabis. The National Institute on Drug Abuse stated that smoking marijuana before or while driving increases the risk of colliding with another vehicle. Taking marijuana could cause the driver to lose his or her ability to think clearly and make rational decisions. Also, a driver under the influence of marijuana can experience reduced motor skills and longer reaction times.
Determining Liability for Alcohol or Drug-Related Trucking Accidents in Georgia
The primary party responsible for an alcohol or drug-related trucking collision is the truck driver and employer, if applicable. Truck drivers bear the responsibility of driving sober. An "owner-operator" acting as an independent contractor will likely shoulder most, if not all, of the financial burden associated with compensating victims of negligence, but normally carry commercial insurance policies.
Trucking accidents can cause serious injuries. Additionally, making claims against truck drivers and companies can normally involve State and Federal law. These types of accidents commonly also involve issues relating to preservation of evidence. Our attorneys at Montlick & Associates understand the serious types of consequences that trucking injury victims face, including costly medical care, lost income, disability, Pain and Suffering, and others. Our law firm offers high-quality legal representation to trucking victims and fights hard on behalf of each client in order to obtain for them maximum compensation for their damages under the law.
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