The Dangers of Impaired and Distracted Truck DriversMississippi Legal News
Driver inattentiveness, impairment, and distraction are among the most common causes of truck accidents, accounting for over 25% of all large-vehicle collisions. Given the sheer mass of the vehicles they operate, truck drivers are significantly more accountable for impairment-related collisions than other motorists, as even minor errors in judgment or reaction time could easily total vehicles and destroy lives.
Why Impairment Is so Common
Impairment can take on a variety of forms, but in the context of truck drivers, drug or alcohol intoxication is less common than normal. This is due to stringent federal regulations for commercial drivers, which necessitate drug tests at repeated times:
- As a prerequisite for employment, successfully clearing a drug test is mandatory
- After any significant truck accident (i.e. one involving injuries, death, or inoperable vehicles), testing must be fulfilled within 2-8 hours
- Whenever a truck driver seems suspicious or potentially intoxicated, they can be randomly tested
- Randomly throughout their employment, truck drivers must be tested without warning
- After “returning to duty” (when a truck driver fails to adhere to these regulations at one point and becomes re-employable), additional, regular drug tests are necessary
With such frequent testing guidelines, it’s easy to see why drugs and alcohol only periodically play a role in truck accidents, however, they can and do still contribute to collisions, especially when lax supervisors and employers skimp on testing. Rather than substance-based intoxication, it’s far more common to see impairment resulting from truck driver fatigue or distracted driving.
Similarly to drugs and alcohol, federal regulations do exist for the specific purpose of trying to eliminate drowsiness and distractions from commercial accidents. Shift limitations for truck drivers restrict them to limited amounts of consecutive hours, with mandatory breaks seeded throughout their shift and a minimum prerequisite for consecutive sleep hours. However, many truck drivers, out of a desire to work overtime, or out of the flagrant belief that drowsiness doesn’t affect them, are known to ignore these limitations. Distracted driving, similarly, is illegal, but much harder to detect without the presence of a dashcam.
How Impairment Affects Mississippi Truck Accidents
If you feel that impairment might have played a role in your accident, there are a variety of places you can look to for evidence. For one, eyewitness accounts of poor driver behavior (drifting in lanes, sudden braking, inconsistent speed, etc.) can be vital, as can security camera footage demonstrating the same things. Under federal regulations, a truck’s black box data must include information on hours of service and other driver tendencies, making it much easier to gather evidence that may point to a drowsy or otherwise impaired trucker. Medical records and blood testing can point to drugs or alcohol as well, proving that intoxication played a role in your crash.
Once you’ve proven that a truck driver was impaired or distracted in some form, several parties may be liable for their lapse in judgment:
- The truck driver, for making the reckless decision to drive impaired and/ or ignore regulations
- The trucking company, for not enacting effective regulations or failing to address known issues
- The trucker’s supervisor, for failing to carry out the company’s regulations or catch infractions
Let Germany Law Firm PLLC’s truck accident attorneys in Jackson, Mississippi help. We have extensive experience with cases just like yours and can help you gather all the evidence necessary to build a strong case for comprehensive compensation. Scheduling a free consultation today by calling us at (601) 401-6884 is the best way to achieve a hassle-free, fair, and maximized recovery, so don’t delay.