Recently, our Chicago semi truck accident lawyers read a report on KAJ18.com detailing the felony convictions a semi truck driver faces after driving his commercial vehicle the wrong way down an interstate highway for 14 miles. According to the report, numerous passenger vehicles had to serve in order to avoid a head-on collision during the vehicle’s wrong way travel. The semi truck additionally struck a reflector post which caused his vehicle to leak diesel fuel onto the interstate. Local authorities at the scene stated that they believe that the semi truck driver was under the influence of an illegal substance but toxicology reports have not been finalized. The 48 year-old driver currently faces three felony counts of criminal endangerment.
Fortunately, no other passenger vehicles were harmed during this illegal, as well as, severely dangerous semi truck operation. Although the report does not confirm if the driver was under the influence of any illegal substances during the 14 mile wrong way travel, the use of illegal substances by drivers of large commercial vehicles is regrettably all too common. A recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on commercial vehicle drivers found 15% of all drivers had marijuana, 12% had non-prescription stimulants, 5% has prescription stimulants, 2% had cocaine, and less than 1% had alcohol in their systems during vehicle operation.
In light of these shocking statistics, in 2010 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforced a strict governmental crackdown of commercial vehicle drivers for violating federal drug and alcohol laws. The agency placed over 109 commercial truck and bus drivers out of service for violating these regulations. Additionally, more than 175 commercial truck companies and carriers faced enforcement actions for violations such as failure to conducted mandated drug and alcohol testing programs.
When truck driver drug or alcohol use plays a key factor in an Illinois semi truck accident resulting in injury or death, the results can be devastating and life-altering for accident victims and their families. Drivers of large commercial vehicles are legally required to adhere to a minimum standard of care when operating 80,000 pound vehicles. This means that drivers are obligated to safely operate their vehicle to avoid collisions of any kind. When a driver deviates from this standard and an accident ensues, accident victims may be able to pursue legal action against the driver and his/her trucking carrier for negligence.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a semi truck accident, please contact our experienced Chicago truck accident attorneys to see what legal rights and relief may be available to you.