Truck Accidents: Driving While Intoxicated
Commercial truckers being tested for alcohol and drugs is a fact of life today. Truckers with a commercial driver license (CDL) are required to test for these substances, in addition to truck owner-operators with a CDL, and companies who employ truckers with a CDL are required to have a testing program. Even with this testing, impaired driving still occurs. In a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Traffic Safety, it was found that 12% of all truck drivers had non-prescription stimulants in their system while operating a commercial truck. The study also showed that 15% of them had marijuana in their systems, 5% with prescription stimulants, less than 1% with alcohol and 2% were found with cocaine in their systems.
An individual does not necessarily have to be considered intoxicated by law for their judgment to be altered by alcohol. Even at legal BAC levels, alcohol affects driving performance by slowing down the trucker's reaction time, which slows down the decision making process. Recognizing the threat to other drives associated with even small amounts of drinking and driving by truck drivers, the Federal government enforces laws that prohibit drivers in the transportation business from performing their duties with a BAC greater than 0.04 percent. This includes railroad workers, pilots, mass transit workers, marine employees and truckers. Although statistics for truck accidents caused by alcohol use are low, they still happen. All it takes is one intoxicated individual to get behind the wheel of a truck, likely causing a catastrophic accident.