A serious truck accident was likely prevented when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association pulled from service a Florida-based trucker following numerous citations issued for driving a commercial vehicle while intoxicated.
Our Fort Myers truck accident lawyers note no one was seriously injured in this case, however negligent truckers contribute to thousands of highway accidents each and every year — and it’s the occupants of passenger vehicles that almost always pay the price.
Another trucker, also recently pulled from service by the FMCSA for the same reason, was reportedly involved in a drunk-driving crash in Pennsylvania that resulted in two deaths in Pennsylvania. That driver, who also owned a trucking firm in Tennessee, had a prior DUI conviction in Utah.
In the latter case, authorities say the tractor-trailer driver crossed a highway shoulder, struck a car, hit and killed two pedestrians, then slammed into a dump truck, causing his vehicle to flip. The trucker fled the scene, but officials found him hiding nearby. He was charged with DUI, reckless driving, aggravated assault with a vehicle and failure to stop at the scene of an accident involving death or personal injury.
In the Utah incident, this same driver/truck company owner had fled the scene as well.
The FMCSA has suspended his license and ordered his fleet to cease operations.
The Florida driver was issued an imminent hazard out-of-service order by FMCSA after regulators say he was cited on three occasions within six months for operating his truck while under the influence of alcohol.
While drunk drivers in any capacity are dangerous, intoxicated drivers operating a vehicle as large as a tractor trailer are perilous to everyone forced to share the road.
Hours-of-service rules that FMCSA enacted last July to ensure drivers are getting more rest prior to each shift have helped to reduce the risks and have prevented truck companies from forcing chronically-fatigued drivers to remain on duty. Still, these rules do little to address the issue of intoxicated truck drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, the percentage of large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes who also had a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher was 2 percent. Bear in mind, however, that this figure doesn’t take into account that commercial drivers in Florida and throughout the country are considered to be intoxicated not at 0.08 percent blood-alcohol concentration, but rather at 0.04 percent BAC. The NHTSA does not offer figures that reflect this standard.
With large-truck drivers who had been involved in fatal crashes, about 18 percent had at least one prior conviction for speeding. About 13 percent had prior recorded crashes, 8 percent had recorded suspensions or revocations and about 0.5 percent had prior DUI convictions.
Florida has an especially high number of large-truck fatalities compared to other states. The NHTSA reports there were nearly 3,500 fatal crashes in the state in 2012, with nearly 6 percent involving large trucks.
That put us at the third-highest in the country, falling behind Texas, which had about 550 fatal large-truck crashes that year and California, which had 250.
FMCSA’s imminent hazard classification for drivers is issued only rarely. Per FMCSA 386.72, a driver posing an imminent hazard is one who presents a substantial likelihood of severe personal injury, illness or death or a substantial danger to health, property or the environment.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.