As instituted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), those who carry a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are held at a higher regard than those who have non-commercial driving licenses when it comes to driving under the influence. This is because regardless of what they are driving, commercial drivers present a serious danger to the safety of the public as well as become a major liability to their respective employers.
The majority of states in America has taken up the strict FMCSA regulations regarding alcohol levels for commercial drivers. Set at half the blood-alcohol concentration limit of non-commercial drivers, commercial drivers should have less than .04 percent BAC limit. Furthermore, those who have consumed alcohol are not allowed to drive a vehicle within 4 hours after they have consumed alcohol. This is to ensure that they will not be a risk on the road and prevent any road accidents.
The effects of being charged with commercial DUI can be extensive. According to Ausband & Dumont, aside from being subjected to the same procedures as non-commercial drivers, those who have been charged with commercial DUI can face a lengthy license suspension. This could lead to loss of employment and financial struggles for the driven and their family. Additionally, those who have been convicted of DUI (regardless of whether he was on duty or not at that time) has to inform their employer about the court’s decision and their license suspension or revocation. The employer should prevent the CDL-driver from operating until the end of their license restriction. This often makes re-employment very difficult for the driver because the DUI conviction is already on their records.
There are many ways with which a commercial driver will be required to take a random alcohol test, such as a when there is viable suspicion, after an accident, or as part of the requirements to return from work after a suspension. FMCSA additionally requires drug testing as part of a condition for employment, after an accident, when there is feasible suspicion, and as a prerequisite to go back to work. Refusing to submit to any of these tests can lead to a more severe penalty, and could lead to a guilty plead for DUI according to FMCSA rules.
Every year the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) receives reports of about 10,000 deaths and, at least, 24,000 cases of serious injuries due to rollover accidents involving, most especially, SUVs. Next to head-on collision accidents, rollovers register the highest number of deaths and grave injuries.
Any type of vehicle can rollover, most especially those that have worn out tires as the vehicle can easily lose traction and those that have the tendency to understeer, or turn lesser that intended, or oversteer, that is turn farther than it was meant to. However, because SUVs are designed with a higher center of gravity from the ground, this makes them more prone to rollover accidents than ordinary cars.
The law firm of Williams Kherkher explains on its website how a serious accident can dramatically change a victim’s (and his/her family’s) present and future life/lives, especially if the physical injury and trauma leads to disability that will render the victim incapable of reporting to work for weeks or months; besides the loss of the capability to earn the victim can be faced with costly medical treatment, which he/she cannot but choose to undergo to help him/her recover.
One modern safety device that manufacturers of cars have found that could significantly lower occurrences of rollover accidents is the Electronic Stability Control (ESC). This safety feature, which the NHTSA has directed vehicle manufacturers to incorporate in their brand new and future cars, consists of sensors that have been enabled to detect loss of vehicle control. As loss of control is detected, the device applies brakes on the appropriate wheel automatically to allow the driver regain and maintain control and put the vehicle back on track. ESC is also able to help stabilize the vehicle during abrupt turns, eliminate chances of oversteering and understeering, improve traction on slippery or icy roads, and improves vehicle control on road shoulders and gravel patches.
Designing an SUV with a higher center of gravity that makes it more likely to rollover may be considered a failure in design by the manufacturer. And this act of negligence, if it ends in a personal injury, can put the manufacturer in a situation wherein he/she would be held legally responsible for any injury sustained and probably be required to compensate the victim for all present and future damages.
Consulting with a Houston personal injury lawyer, who is highly-competent in the field of tort law, can give the victim all the legal help that he/she needs and may be even be awarded by the court the full amount of compensation allowed by the law.
The number of truck accidents in the US has increased over the last 20 years by approximately 20%. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that there were 273,000 truck accidents reported by the police in 2011 (the latest available on the site), of which 3,568 had 3,757 fatalities. Although this represents just 1.3% of the total number of adverse events, this is still a big number.
That is not even considering the 88,000 people who were injured, and truck accident injuries tend to be serious. According to the website of the Williams Kherkher Firm, this is enough reason to hold trucking companies and drivers to a higher standard of behavior.
Considering that federal law governs the trucking industry, specifically in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 49, it is no wonder that trucking owners would want to dodge liability when it comes to trucking accidents. It is no picnic to get into trouble with the federal government, especially if there is a crime involved such as drunk driving or driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
In truck accident cases, the ones who may have some part to play in terms of responsibility aside from the driver include the truck owner, the leaseholder (if any), the shipper, and the truck or parts manufacturers. Liability will depend on the circumstances and cause of the accident, which in turn will involve their respective insurance companies. Mostly, though, liability is confined to the driver and the truck company.
The truck company tries to dodge liability in truck accidents by claiming the driver is an independent contractor and/or leases the truck from a third party to avoid ownership duties of inspections, maintenance, and repair of the vehicle. However, the law states that as long as the trucking company owns the permit to operate the truck, it is co-liable for any negligent trucking accident.
If you have been seriously injured in a trucking accident, there is a good chance that you can recover damages from the driver and the trucking company. Consult with a personal injury lawyer in your area to get started with the process.