How Driver Impairment Can Cause Truck Accidents


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Impairment, when coupled with driving, may mean many things. This could be through distractions that cause the driver to lose awareness of the road and goings-on. Another form of impairment is the influence of drugs or alcohol.

These two areas of impact upon a driver often cause untold property damage and injury to other drivers, passengers and to the driver of a truck himself or herself. Sleep deprivation or sleep conditions also impair a driver which may lead to severe disasters where lives are lost. These issues cause both incidents and lawsuits that take time and energy away from other matters that may be more important. This means it is vital in understanding the impact of these influences in order to eliminate or reduce their influence.

Because truck drivers are operating large scale vehicles or those with a heavy load, it is essential that they are not distracted or impaired while transporting these trucks from one place to another. When collisions take place with trucks, an accident may claim lives, cause multiple vehicles to become involved, create blocked roads and lead to severe and life-altering injuries. If the driver is influenced by some form of substance or other condition that impairs him or her, he or she may act recklessly.

Influence and impairment in these circumstances mean that he or she driving the truck is affected in such a manner that his or her mental faculties, reasoning capacity and judgment have all been altered negatively. In many cases, this is due to alcohol, prescription or illegal drugs. For those that survive these accidents, they may be able to recover damages.

Under the Influence

There are thousands of drivers on the road each day in the United States that are operating large trucks. Of these individuals, it is possible a percentage of them is impaired by substances or other conditions that cause them to react erratically or with bad judgment. Drugs or alcohol may be a determining factor that leads to large-scale wrecks and accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has implemented testing for illegal, prescription and other drugs as well as the influence of alcohol for these truck operators to assist in reducing the negative impact of influenced drivers.

Because of the possibility that a truck driver may be drinking or taking drugs while on the job, the companies behind these persons are required to test these individuals before employment is possible. Random screenings are also part of regulations to ensure during these periods no one falls through the cracks. Additionally, persons involved in a collision must be tested again afterward to prevent possible liability.

Effects of Alcohol and Drug Use on Truck Drivers

When a person has been drinking alcoholic beverages before or during his or her travels, he or she may have slower responses when operating the vehicle. This could also include a delay in reflexes and judgment impairment that leads to a crash. The ability to drive these trucks is often lowered significantly when under the influence, and the capability of performing certain actions or maneuvers in this state is greatly reduced. The possibility of falling asleep also heightens considerably when imbibing liquor or consuming drugs. Another potential incident could include driving on the wrong side of the road.

Another form of impairment comes through with prescription drugs that may affect a personís mood or condition. This could mean less sleep time, dizzy spells, drowsy driving and other conditions. Certain medications or over the counter pills may provide for an extended period where the driver is able to stay awake, but when he or she crashes as the medication wears off, an accident may occur as he or she starts falling asleep. With long hours behind the wheel, it is also possible that fatigue and distractions within the vehicle may affect the journey.

Sleep Conditions and Filing a Claim

Some forms of impairment include different sleeping conditions such as sleep deprivation or sleep apnea. Long times where rest or sleep have been deprived of a person often increase the possibility of an accident due to drowsiness. Sleep apnea may cause a person to forcefully sleep without his or her intention. Both issues may lead to catastrophic mistakes on the road.
When any incident occurs, it is important to seek legal assistance to discover if a claim is necessary. These are often needed to reclaim monies used for health coverage not provided for by the insurance agency policy. Impairment may be an easier case to prove when compared to negligence or other matters. It is best to contact a lawyer to proceed with a claim.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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