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Huntington Beach Truck Accident Lawyers

Drinking and driving is against the law. For drivers of non-commercial drivers, it is illegal under California law to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. For commercial drivers, the legal limit is half of that or 0.04 percent. Drunk or impaired driving can result in devastating and catastrophic truck crashes causing major injuries or even fatalities. If you or a loved one has been injured by an impaired truck driver, an experienced Huntington Beach truck accident lawyer can help you better understand your legal rights and options.

Drug Use a Problem Among Truckers

A study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety shows that drugs are more of a problem with truck drivers compared to alcohol. In 2009, 4 percent of fatally injured truck drivers had blood alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 percent. A 1995 roadside study in four states found that illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine or methamphetamine were more prevalent among truck drivers than alcohol. Almost 5 percent of truck drivers tested positive for illicit drug use.

Employers’ Responsibilities

Federal regulations require trucking companies to test all commercial drivers for drugs before employment, after accidents and on a random basis. Alcohol tests are also required after crashes and on a random basis. Under federal law, drivers must be placed out of service if they are found with any alcohol in their systems. Those who are found with BACs at or above 0.04 percent are disqualified from driving with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). According to the IIHS, random alcohol testing reduces the odds that a truck driver involved in a fatal crash will have a positive BAC by 14 percent.

The Government Accountability Office in 2008 recommended that “national clearinghouse” for positive drug and alcohol test results of commercial vehicle drivers be created. This would alert employers about positive test results when they screen applicant drivers.

It is also critical that more and more employers use testing methods that are more modern and efficient. Studies show that hair testing is more accurate than urine analysis tests. C.R. England, a large national trucking company, recently switched to hair tests and found that the positive rate for drivers shot up from 2.8 percent to 11 percent. Another company, Schneider, found that while 82 drivers tested positive on the urinalysis test, 964 tested positive with the hair test. It is important that employers screen their drivers properly. By not doing so, they are putting others on the road in grave danger.

Consequences of Impaired Driving

When a truck driver is operating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, an 80,000-pound truck becomes a dangerous weapon in his or her hands. Such a driver has the potential to cause major injuries and fatalities. When a truck and a smaller vehicle collide, it is common for the occupants of the smaller vehicle to suffer major injuries. Examples of injuries suffered in Huntington Beach truck accidents include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, other neck and back injuries, broken bones and internal injuries. Injured victims often end up spending weeks or months in a hospital or rehabilitation facility. Not all their expenses are covered by health insurance. Many end up paying out of pocket for rehabilitation or physical therapy sessions.

Who Can Be Held Accountable

If a drunk or impaired truck driver caused your truck accident, the driver and his or her employer can be held criminally and civilly liable for the injuries and damages caused. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, loss of wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation and other related damages. Families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages such as lost future income, funeral expenses and medical costs.

The experienced Huntington Beach truck accident lawyers at Bisnar Chase can help gather the evidence that is required to hold the negligent parties liable. The drunk or impaired truck driver and the company that negligently hired him or her should be held accountable. Please call us at 949-203-3814 for a free consultation and comprehensive case assessment.

Immediately call an experienced and reputable Orange County Personal Injury Lawyer for a free consultation at 949-203-3814.

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