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Georgia Alcohol and Drug-Related Trucking Accidents - Montlick & Associates


May 20, 2021

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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If you or a loved one have been harmed in an elevator accident, contact Montlick & Associates, Injury Attorneys, for your free consultation today. Our law firm has been representing those who suffer serious injuries for over 37 years, and our attorneys have recovered billions of dollars for our clients. 

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No matter where you are located, our Georgia personal injury attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us nationwide 24 hours day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or simply dial #WIN (#946) from your mobile phone. You can also visit us online at Montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or Free 24-hour live chat.

Sources: Cited within and:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11322979_Prevalence_of_drug_use_in_commercial_tractor-trailer_drivers

https://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/ltccs/default.asp?page=reports

https://www.gahighwaysafety.org/research/ga-crashes/injuries/fatalities/

https://drugabuse.com/library/effects-stimulant-drugs/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/does-marijuana-use-affect-driving

Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.