Potential disaster averted
In a harrowing close call, an intoxicated truck driver was arrested early Saturday morning when witnesses spotted his tractor-trailer speeding down C.F. Hahn Highway in the eastbound lanes — going west.
The driver was pulled over at Buckner Boulevard where Dallas Sheriff deputies administered a field sobriety test.
Due to the quick action of the deputies — and luck — nobody was hurt before the intoxicated driver was stopped.
Which company hired this man and allowed him to be driving a 80,000 pound vehicle drunk at 3:00 a.m.?
Commercial vehicle driver intoxication laws in Texas
Driving any vehicle while intoxicated is horrifically negligent. But when the vehicle is a tractor-trailer, bus, or other large commercial vehicle, the stakes increase substantially. Had the driver in Saturday’s incident collided head-on into a car, the occupants would have stood little, if any, chance of survival.
Texas law recognizes the heightened dangers inherent in operating a commercial vehicle and the added responsibility of drivers to do so with care. An 18-wheeler or bus driver is presumed impaired at a blood alcohol concentration of only .04 percent — half of that of other drivers.
A trucker convicted of driving his big-rig while intoxicated is disqualified from employment as a driver for one year. If the driver was transporting hazardous waste while impaired, he loses his commercial driver’s license (CDL) for three years. If convicted of DUI in any vehicle or if he refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test, the commercial driver loses his CDL license for the full year.
One of the first things a personal injury lawyer looks for is evidence that the at-fault driver was intoxicated from alcohol or drugs.
Motor carriers alcohol testing
Truck drivers perform a safety sensitive function that subjects them to alcohol and drug testing regulations. An employer is required to test its driver after a crash that results in a fatality and if the driver is cited for a crash that results in serious injury or disabling damage to the truck. An employer may also test a driver suspected of intoxication and to randomly test drivers.
Alcohol was involved in 41 percent of the 3,538 traffic-related deaths in Texas in 2014. Drunk driving fatalities in large trucks are not as common, but the risks are greater whenever a driver gets into a bus or 18-wheeler without his full attention, judgment and cognition intact.
Last week’s DUI arrest is an example of how federal and local laws work together to keep the public safe from drunk drivers. Federal and state regulations limit the number of drunk truck drivers. Then Dallas law enforcement was able to stop the intoxicated driver before he injured others.
Berenson Injury Law has helped many victims of drunk driving and 18-wheeler crashes during the past 36 years. We immediately investigate how the crash happened, file a lawsuit, subpoena the trucking company’s records, take the deposition of the driver, his safety manager and other company representatives, and build the evidence necessary to win at trial.
If a commercial driver crashed into you, call my Dallas-Fort Worth law office for a free consultation. We’ll fight to get you the compensation you deserve.