DWI Standards for Truck & Commercial Drivers
Drivers who get behind the wheel while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs place others on public roads and highways in serious danger and at serious risk of suffering injuries and fatalities. When these drivers get behind the wheel of massive commercial trucks – including 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and other large freight bearing vehicles – the dangers and risks can increase dramatically. In fact, the Texas Department of Public Safety explicitly warns truck drivers against the use of alcohol when driving commercial vehicles, as alcohol impairment can negatively impact driving in a number of ways, including:
- Slowed reaction time to potential hazards
- Driving recklessly, too fast, or too slow
- Weaving, driving in the wrong lane, and changing lanes unsafely
- Running stop signs and stop lights
Aware that impaired and intoxicated truck drivers create such overwhelming dangers to public safety, the U.S. government has taken great measures to ensure that truck drivers are held to strict standards when it comes to driving while intoxicated.
WHAT ARE THE DWI LAWS FOR TRUCK DRIVERS?
In Texas, drivers are held to strict legal limits for alcohol intoxication. For most motorists, this legal limit is .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC). For commercial vehicle drivers, this limit is reduced to .04 percent. This means that if a truck driver is found to have a BAC of .04 percent or higher, they are considered legally intoxicated under Texas law. Commercial truck drivers are also not permitted to drive under the influence of any drug, illegal narcotic, or chemical substance. Should truck drivers – as well as commercial passenger carrying drivers – violate these laws, they can face severe criminal penalties and the loss of their commercial driver’s license.
In order to regulate truck driver safety in regards to impaired driving, local law enforcement agencies, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – a federal government agency that operates under the U.S. Department of Transportation – all establish and enforce explicit regulatory measures for commercial driver impairment and intoxication.
FEDERAL DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING
In addition to specific traffic and criminal laws that address impaired driving for commercial drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation require truck drivers to be tested for alcohol and drugs in order to ensure that they create a drug and alcohol free transportation environment. Federal drug and alcohol testing requirements apply to all drivers who operate a commercial motor vehicle. These tests are to be performed during pre-employment, upon reasonable suspicion that a driver is using alcohol or a controlled substance, at random selection, and after accidents. If alcohol or drugs are detected in a truck driver’s system after a traffic accident, such evidence can be used to support the claim that the driver should be held at fault and financially liable for causing harm to victims.
PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF INJURED TRUCK ACCIDENT VICTIMS
At the Loewy Law Firm, we are committed to helping clients obtain the compensation they rightfully deserve. When representing victims and families who have suffered losses during truck and commercial vehicle accidents, Attorney Adam Loewy – our firm’s founding attorney – works diligently to conduct thorough investigations, secure all necessary evidence, and work toward holding the truck driver and truck company financially liable for your damages. Driving while intoxicated is a highly negligent, extremely careless, and explicitly illegal act, and anyone who harms another while under the influence must be held accountable. If you, your loved one, or someone you care about has recently been injured in a truck or car accident by a driver you believe to have been impaired or intoxicated at the time, please do not hesitate to contact an Austin personal injury attorney from the Loewy Law Firm today.