Most drivers are aware that drinking and driving is against the law for a reason. Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs can cause accidents in which innocent people are hurt or killed. In fact, between 2003 and 2012, 1,816 people in New Jersey were killed in accidents involving a drunk driver.
When a commercial truck driver decides to drink and drive, the results can be catastrophic. The size and weight of these trucks can lead to severe injury and damages. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck and suspect that the driver was intoxicated, you have several options. Continue reading to learn more about your rights and legal options regarding truck DUI accidents.
Regulations for Truck DUI’s
It is illegal in all 50 states for drivers to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other substances that cause impairment. Unfortunately, drunk driving does still happen, so it’s important to know more about the regulations for DUI’s involving commercial truck drivers.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that in 2010, 1.8% of the 3,446 truck drivers who were involved in a fatal collision had a BAC of over 0.08. At least 3% had consumed some amount of alcohol. While these percentages may not seem that high, it’s important to remember the amount of devastation that just one incident of drunk driving can cause.
Across the states, commercial drivers must refrain from consuming alcohol at least 4 hours before operating a truck. Truck drivers should also not have any traces of alcohol in their blood, even if it is below the legal limit. Employers are required to administer regular drug and alcohol testing for their drivers in order to prevent tragic incidents caused by DUI’s.
Determining Liability in a DUI Case
Depending on the circumstances, the employer or the employee may be determined liable for a truck accident.
One theory of liability called “respondeat superior” states that the employer is responsible for any accidents caused by one of their drivers. This Latin phrase essentially means “let the superior make answer.” So if a driver was acting within the scope of their employment, the employer may have to take responsibility.
This term “scope of employment” raises some important questions. What acts are considered within a driver’s scope of employment? Common factors may include:
- The intent of the driver
- The type of work they were hired to do
- The nature of the employee’s conduct
- The amount of freedom permitted to the employee when performing their job
A New Jersey court will be able to determine if the driver or his or her employer should take responsibility. No matter what the decision, it is within your rights to pursue legal recourse through a personal injury case.
Consult a Truck Accident Attorney
Injuries sustained in an accident with a drunk truck driver can leave you with huge medical bills and substantial lost wages if you have to miss work as a result. You deserve justice and a chance to restore things to the way they were before the accident.