Drunk Driving Truck Accident Lawyer in Utah
When drunk truck drivers get behind the wheel, they put anyone nearby at risk of serious injuries or worse. The massive size of commercial trucks can do serious damage in a collision with a smaller passenger car, and the occupants of the other vehicle almost always suffer the worst injuries. If you were hurt in an accident caused by an intoxicated truck driver, contact Swenson & Shelley immediately. Our legal team will help you hold the responsible party accountable for their reckless decision.
Call or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced truck accident lawyer in Utah.
Common Types of Accidents Caused by Drunk Truck Drivers
An impaired truck driver does not have the reaction time, decision-making skills, or judgment required to operate a vehicle safely. Collisions occur when impaired truck drivers can’t focus on the road, lose control of the rig, or overlook dangerous situations.
The most common types of truck accidents caused by drunk truck drivers include:
- Jackknife accidents – A semi-truck jackknifes when the trailer falls out of sync with the cab and swings forward in a motion resembling a folding pocketknife. A drunk driver may slam on the brakes or overcorrect to avoid a hazard, causing a jackknife accident.
- Drowsy driving accidents – Alcohol is a sedative that can cause drowsiness when consumed excessively. A drunk truck driver falling asleep behind the wheel threatens everyone, including other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
- Rear-end collisions – Trucks need more time to stop than cars. A drunk truck driver following too closely likely won’t be able to brake in time to avoid a collision if a vehicle ahead slows down or stops suddenly.
- Rollover accidents – A truck can tip over from a sudden change in momentum or direction. Swerving to avoid hitting a car or road hazard can cause a drunk driver’s truck to roll.
- Head-on collisions – A head-on collision with a commercial truck is often deadly. Impaired truckers cause head-on accidents when they drift into the next lane and oncoming traffic.
Truck Accident Statistics in Utah
Truck accident statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) show there were more than 1,000 accidents involving large trucks in Utah in one recent year, resulting in 435 injuries and 51 fatalities.
Other FMCSA data shows that more than 4,700 large truck drivers were involved in fatal accidents in a single year. In those crashes, around four percent of truckers had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01 or higher. About three percent of truck drivers in those deadly collisions registered BACs of 0.08 or higher, twice the legal limit allowed for commercial drivers.
Who is Liable for Truck Accidents?
A drunk truck driver who causes an accident is often responsible for the injuries and losses resulting from it. However, the trucking company could also be at fault for a collision caused by their employee. A trucking company can be directly liable if it fails to train or monitor a driver properly, hires a driver with a history of alcohol abuse, or fails to take action against a driver who violates drunk driving rules.
How Can You Prove That a Semi-Truck Driver Was Drunk?
Strong evidence of impairment is crucial to winning a semi-truck accident claim involving a drunk trucker. An experienced attorney can build a solid case by gathering evidence like:
- Information from the truck’s event data recorder (EDR) about the moments before and during the collision
- Medical records documenting your injuries and treatment
- The police accident report for the investigating officer’s opinion about who is at fault and how the crash occurred
- Toxicology test results
- Receipts showing the truck driver’s alcohol purchases before driving
- Traffic camera footage of the crash
- Photos from the accident scene, including vehicle damage, skid marks on the road, and your injuries
- Truck driver’s employment records and any history of drunk driving
- The motor carrier’s records of alcohol testing and results
- Witness statements
DUI Regulations for Commercial Truck Drivers
Federal law prohibits interstate truck drivers from being under the influence of or consuming alcohol within four hours of operating a commercial motor vehicle or going on duty. Truck drivers may not be under the influence of alcohol, use alcohol, or have any measure of alcohol concentration in their systems while operating, on duty, or in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle.
FMCSA also outlines drug and alcohol testing rules and regulations for commercial truck drivers.
These rules determine who is subject to testing, the frequency of testing, and the circumstances under which employees may be tested.
Unlike a non-commercial driver, a truck driver fails an alcohol test if their BAC is 0.04 or greater. The driver must pass a return-to-duty process with a substance abuse professional to be able to drive again. A truck driver who refuses to submit to alcohol testing will generally be considered to have failed the test and typically face the same consequences.
Utah also has laws regarding the use of alcohol by commercial truck drivers. An individual who holds or is required to hold a commercial driver’s license is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle for at least one year if convicted of a first offense of:
- Driving a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, alcohol, a controlled substance, or more than one of these
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 or higher in the breath, blood, or urine
- Refusing to submit to alcohol testing to determine their BAC
Contact a Skilled Utah Truck Accident Attorney Today
There’s never an acceptable excuse for drunk driving. If you sustained injuries in a semi-truck accident in Utah, you need legal help to hold the drunk trucker liable for your losses. The truck accident attorneys at Swenson & Shelley can protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call or contact us online for a free consultation today.