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Never Get Hit By A Truck

You know what I didn’t realize? When an 18-wheeler runs you off the road, you aren’t just going to get paid out by the insurance and go about your life. No, it turns out, the part where you end in a ditch isn’t the worst part of the process when an accident involves a semi-truck. I should have just taken my time in that ditch and relaxed because somehow I’ve been more stressed since getting out than I was when I nearly died.

All that’s because it turns out semi-trucks aren’t just owned by the guy driving people off the road. They’re actually owned by massive corporations. And if massive corporations all have one thing going for them, it’s high-priced lawyers. I, stupidly, didn’t get a lawyer right away, and I was caught flatfooted. The first I heard of the situation was when a lawyer contacted me for a statement. They were sneaky about it and tried to trip me up, tried to get me to say something that would prove my guilt. Luckily, I was suspicious enough to be cagey.

I called my insurance company, and it turned out they’d been all over them as well. They’d investigated the car. It was a whole mess.

So, I had to get a lawyer at that point because I didn’t know what was going on. Apparently, there are truck lawyers who specialize in dealing with this stuff. Foolish little me, I expected everything to be resolved quickly and to get a check to fix my car. Instead, I had to take money out of savings because my lawyer said this could drag on for months.

And months have been dragging on. It’s taken nine months for the trucking company to finally give in and settle with my lawyer. And, guess what, the check finally arrived. After my lawyer took his fee, I now have just enough left over to pay myself back and to cover a few other bills that had come in over the whole thing (I’d foolishly let my health insurance lapse and so I had to pay for the emergency room visit).

Basically, I went through nine months of incredible stress that I didn’t need after an awful traumatic event, and all I got was what I should have had coming to me in the first place.

Isn’t the trucking business grand?

I’ll tell you one thing. I am not going anywhere near a semi- for a long time. I’m taking back roads and alternative routes. Anything to make sure I don’t have to go through this again. If I lived in an area where I could walk everywhere, I would, but since I don’t, I’ll have to settle for taking an extra twenty minutes to get everywhere, driving through neighborhoods and going slowly everywhere just so I never have to see a semi-truck again.

Alcohol and Truck Driving: A Deadly Combination

Drivers of smaller vehicles sharing roads with 18-wheelers would never think that the driver of the truck beside or in front of them is sleepy or alcohol-impaired, unless there are obvious signs that would show these. Hundreds of data, however, show that many truck drivers were indeed either falling asleep, asleep, alcohol-impaired prior to an accident. As a matter of fact, with regard to use of alcohol and drugs by truck drivers, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that it actually is the second major reason behind truck accidents.

Drivers operating a commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GWVR) exceeding 33000 lb, like 18-wheelers, also called big-rigs or semi-trailers, observe a higher standard where alcohol intoxication limit is the issue. Compared to the 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit imposed on drivers of smaller vehicles, such as cars, SUVs, and pick-ups, the BAC limit for commercial drivers is 0.04%. This means that anyone who will be caught driving with this BAC level can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI).

Big-rig drivers, however, have more to worry about than just having a 0.04% BAC level because those who will be found with a 0.02% BAC level can also be suspended from driving for about 24 hours, while those who will register a 0.08%, even when off-duty, may still be charged with a DUI.

The need and desire to stay awake and alert in order to cover more road miles are what make drivers drink and continue to drive even while feeling the effects of alcohol. This is one of the saddest effects of getting paid by the mile (about .40 cents per mile). However, rather than making them awake and alert, alcohol will only make them sleepier and more impaired.

It is the duty and responsibility of drivers to always stay sober when operating their truck. Alcohol, though, will lessen their ability to safely operate the huge and dangerous vehicles they are driving, putting the lives of so many in danger because alcohol can result to:

  • Slowed and impaired motor control;
  • Inability to remain focused on the roadway;
  • Delayed reaction times;
  • Heightened risk of falling asleep; and,
  • Compromised judgment and decision making abilities

Any act in violation of the laws against drunk-driving can make truck drivers face serious criminal chargers, harsh penalties, and civil liabilities for whatever injuries and damages their drunkenness might cause.

According to the law firm Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, despite everything they know about the inherent dangers of the vehicles they operate, the fact is that some truck drivers still choose to get behind the wheel while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As difficult as these decisions are to understand, the consequences of accidents caused by intoxicated truckers can leave victims and their families reeling. Victims, therefore, should be ready to take legal action against the trucker responsible for their accident.

Read that Charlie wants to thank the Charleston personal injury lawyers of the Clawson & Staubes, LLC: Injury Group.