When semi-trucks are involved in accidents, the results are often catastrophic or even fatal, particularly if the truck collides with a much smaller passenger vehicle. If an accident is caused because the truck driver was under the influence of alcohol, it is even more tragic. DUI accidents are 100% avoidable, and those who cause them need to be held accountable for their actions. This is especially true of drivers who hold Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDL), such as truckers. Their vehicles require significant skill and training to operate, and the drivers owe a high standard of care.
Commercial Vehicle Driver DUI Laws
If a commercial truck driver operates a large truck with a BAC of .04 or greater, then he or she is driving drunk. Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) prohibits truck drivers from drinking alcohol within four hours of driving their semi-truck.
Commercial drivers may be required to submit to random alcohol tests after an accident where there was reasonable suspicion that the driver was under the influence, or as a condition of returning to duty following an alcohol policy violation.
When pulled over on suspicion of DUI, commercial drivers also face more severe penalties for refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test than regular drivers. Under FMCSA rules, refusal to take a blood alcohol test is the equivalent of pleading guilty to DUI.
Additionally, CDL holders convicted of any traffic violation (other than parking offenses) must notify his or her employer within 30 days, no matter which vehicle was driven at the time. A truck driver convicted of a DUI in his personal car while off duty is required notify his employer. If the driver's license is suspended or revoked due to the DUI, the employer is not allowed to employ the driver for the duration of the license restriction.
Liability in Truck Driver DUI Accident Claims
If a truck driver under the influence of alcohol causes an accident, that driver can be held liable for damages. Additionally, the trucking company the driver works for can be held liable for the negligent actions of their employee during the scope of his or her employment. A trucking company can also be held liable for negligent hiring and retention if the company knew that the employee had DUI arrests or failed drug/alcohol tests while employed with the company.
In the state of Illinois, establishments that serve alcohol can be held liable if a patron causes an accident while under the influence. This is known as dram shop law, and it is strict in Illinois. To prove liability under the dram shop law, you must be able to show that:
- The establishment sold the truck driver the alcohol
- The alcohol caused the driver's intoxication (which could be foreseen by the establishment)
- The trucker caused you damages
- The damages were caused by (at least in part) the driver's intoxication
The statute of limitations for a Dram Shop case in Illinois is only one year, so prompt investigation to determine the place(s) where the drunk driver became intoxicated is vital.
We offer a free consultation to evaluate your truck driver DUI injury claim. It will cost you nothing to consult with a lawyer to see if you have a case. It is essential that action be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident and/or conduct in question and to file a lawsuit, when necessary prior to a deadline imposed by the statute of limitations. A truck driver DUI accident attorney from Nemeroff Law Offices can evaluate your case and provide you wilt your legal options. We will hire accident reconstructionists if necessary in order to prove the cause of your accident.
Chicago Truck Driver DUI Injury Lawyers
We give all our personal injury, workers' compensation, wrongful death and medical malpractice clients a promise that if we do not recover monetary damages in your case, we will not charge you an attorney fee. If we take your case, we only get paid if we win.