Truck drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs cause serious DUI accidents that injure and kill other drivers on the road.
Impaired Truckers Behind the Wheel
In Indiana, operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) is a criminal charge. Although there are other designations, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI), the offenses are all considered identical and carry the same penalties under Indiana state laws. An OWI is linked to a traffic offense where alcohol or drugs hinder a driver’s ability to control a vehicle and drive safely.
Drunk driving is a serious offense that impacts commercial truckers. Due to job stress, long hours on the road, delivery deadlines, and loneliness from family absences, truck drivers face significant problems with alcohol and drugs. Severe and fatal injuries are frequently caused by impaired truckers behind the wheel.
Indiana law sets strict standards for drunk driving. While drivers of passenger vehicles must maintain a blood alcohol level (BAC) of below 0.08, drivers of commercial vehicles are required to maintain a BAC under 0.04. As BAC levels rise, drivers experience a variety of impairments:
- BAC 0.02 – Mild impairments with attention, coordination, balance, and memory
- BAC 0.05 – Slower motor controls and reaction times
- BAC 0.08 – Significant impairments with concentration and depth perception
- BAC 0.15 – Severe impairments with all cognitive and motor skills
- BAC 0.20 – Severe impairments with coordination, decisions, and judgment
When BAC levels reach high levels, drivers face increased risks of dizziness, nausea or vomiting, alcohol poisoning, and complete loss of consciousness while driving. On a highway driving at top speeds of 65-70 mph, a commercial truck weighing 80,000 pounds is like a loaded missile in a crash. Indiana accident lawyers commonly see fatal trucking accidents caused by fully-loaded trucks that crash into other vehicles and guardrails.
The American trucking industry imposes strict safety regulations for commercial truckers. Truckers must comply with both state and federal regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Because commercial trucks pose high fatality risks due to size, weight, and hazardous cargo, penalties for safety violations include community service, high fines, jail time, and license suspension or probation. Offenders are often required to undergo frequent alcohol and drug testing and participate in substance abuse programs and victim impact panels.