Truck Accidents and Driving under the Influence
There are very few people who do not feel that drunk driving is a serious threat to public safety. However, while any instance of drunk driving is a serious concern, a trucker who drives while intoxicated could pose even more danger than the average driver. At the Long Island firm of Levine & Slavitt, PLLC, we represent all types of trucking accidents, including those involving drunk driving. We are committed to obtaining the compensation our clients deserve and to reducing the number of drunk driving accidents.
A Look at the Statistics
According to the Department of Transportation, there are some truly alarming statistics regarding trucking accidents. (In these figures, trucking accidents refer to any accidents involving semis that weight 10,000 lbs or more):
- Approximately 50,000 trucking accidents occur each year.
- Of these accidents, about 5,000 of them involve fatalities.
- 1 out of 8 traffic fatalities involves a truck
- 98 percent of the fatalities in trucking accidents involve the driver or passengers of a car
Stricter Drunk Driving Laws for Truck Drivers
Trucks obviously can cause immense damage in the event of an accident. With 10,000+ pounds behind a semi, even a minor impact can have deadly repercussions. For this reason, truck drivers are bound by stricter laws regarding drunk driving than the general populace. For automobile drivers, the legal BAC level is 0.08 percent. However, in most of the country, including New York, the legal BAC level for truck drivers is 0.04 percent. Truck drivers also face more severe repercussions for drunk driving offenses. First time offenders face a one-year license suspension. After a second offense, the state revokes a trucker’s commercial license, although they may appeal to get it back after ten years. A third offense results in a permanent revocation with no chance of reversal.
Who May Be Responsible for the Accident?
Your personal injury attorney may find several parties responsible for your accident. Of course, if a truck driver has an elevated BAC at the time of the accident, his liability will generally be easy to prove. However, in many cases, the trucking company may also be found responsible since companies take on legal responsibility for the people they choose to hire. If the truck driver was under 21, under New York’s Social Host Laws, the person who supplied the driver with alcohol can also be found guilty of negligence. Additionally, New York’s Dram Shop Act states, “no person shall sell, deliver or give away …any alcoholic beverages to (1) Any person, actually or apparently, under twenty-one years and (2) Any visibly intoxicated person.” This means that if the driver who caused an accident ordered drinks at a bar, the bar owner could be held responsible for selling alcoholic beverages to an already intoxicated person. This applies even if the proprietor had no idea that the patron was a truck driver or that he intended to get behind the wheel after drinking.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
If you have been injured in a truck accident involving drunk driving, the truck accident attorneys at Levine & Slavitt, PLLC, will work to obtain your lawful damages. We will determine the liability of every party involved in the accident, and we will fight aggressively in court or in negotiation. Call our office for your free case evaluation.