Truck drivers are subject to a strict drug and alcohol testing regimen. If they fail any drug or alcohol tests, they can face immediate discipline and must follow a return-to-duty protocol that includes drug or alcohol treatment.
Unfortunately, not every intoxicated driver gets stopped by a positive test result. After a truck accident caused by an incident of truck driver drug or alcohol use, Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers can help you identify who may bear liability for your injuries and how to pursue compensation.
How Our St. Louis Truck Accident Attorneys Can Help After a DUI Crash
Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers has been helping accident victims in St. Louis, Missouri since 2010. Over the past 13 years, our lawyers have successfully obtained over $100 million in compensation for our clients.
If you suffer an injury in a DUI accident, our St. Louis truck accident lawyers will provide:
- A free case evaluation where we discuss your accident and explain your legal rights
- Aggressive representation against national trucking companies and their insurers
- A legal team with over 100 years of combined experience protecting your rights
Commercial trucking companies have enormous resources to fight truck accident claims. Contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the compensation you can seek for truck accident injuries in St. Louis, MO.
How Many Truck Accidents Result From Drug and Alcohol Use?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates truck drivers and trucking companies that engage in interstate transportation. A crash study by the FMCSA identified about 3,000 truck accidents from drug use and 1,000 truck crashes from alcohol intoxication.
These numbers might seem high. But bear in mind a few facts. First, the study took place over 33 months. If you translate the statistics into annual numbers, you get 1,091 drug-related accidents per year and 364 alcohol-related accidents per year.
Second, these numbers cover the entire U.S. According to the Missouri Traffic Safety Compendium, the state had 5,235 drug- or alcohol-related crashes involving cars, SUVs, vans, pickup trucks, and motorcycles in 2022. It had only 61 drug- or alcohol-related crashes involving semi-trucks and delivery vans that year.
Third, truck drivers are more likely to get caught if they crash while intoxicated. The law requires a test after every crash, regardless of the cause. But after a car crash, drunk drivers sometimes escape detection because the police usually do not ask drivers for a breathalyzer or drug test unless they suspect a DUI accident. Consequently, these numbers are highly accurate.
On the other hand, all of these intoxicated trucking crashes were preventable. Both the driver and their employer could have taken steps to stop them from driving while using drugs or alcohol. Additionally, because of the size of commercial motor vehicles, even a small number of tractor-trailer accidents can cause widespread death and destruction.
Proving Liability For Accidents Caused By Intoxicated Truck Drivers
A crash caused by a truck driver using drugs or alcohol represents a breakdown of the entire trucking regulatory system. Several processes are meant to catch drug or alcohol use before truck drivers crash. As a result, victims of truck accidents might be able to recover compensation from at least two sources, including:
The Truck Driver
The driver bears liability for any injuries that resulted from their negligent or intentional acts. Negligence happens when someone fails to exercise reasonable care. In other words, you must show that the driver knew or should have known their actions could reasonably injure or kill someone else.
Everyone knows the dangers of intoxicated driving. Commercial truck drivers understand these dangers better than most drivers due to their training and experience.
They also know they need to pass drug and alcohol testing at several points in their careers, including:
- When hired by a trucking company
- After an accident
- Upon returning from a drug- or alcohol-related suspension
- For randomly administered tests
- Upon suspicion of drug or alcohol use
This strict regimen should illustrate to a jury that the truck driver knew the risks of intoxicated driving.
The Trucking Company
Trucking companies have two forms of liability. A doctrine called respondeat superior makes employers liable for the on-the-job acts of their employees. When on-duty truck drivers cause crashes, the liability for those crashes can fall on their employers.
But sometimes trucking companies use independent contractors to try to dodge this type of liability.
In these cases, trucking companies can still bear liability for a crash if they acted negligently while:
- Hiring a truck driver
- Administering drug or alcohol tests
- Retaining truck drivers after other incidents
For example, a trucking company has the authority to test drivers when it suspects drug or alcohol use. If it unreasonably ignored the signs of drug or alcohol use and allowed the driver to continue working, it could bear the liability for any crash.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our St. Louis Truck Accident Lawyers After a Crash Caused By Drug or Alcohol Use
Truck accidents involving drug or alcohol use can cause severe or even fatal injuries. Call Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers at (314) 444-4444 for a free consultation to discuss your truck accident and how we can help you pursue compensation for injuries to you or your loved one.