GazetteExtra.com reports that a semi truck driver has received a 10 year prison sentence for his role in a fatal semi truck accident that took the life of the driver’s father-in-law. The prison sentence stems from a collision that occurred last April when the semi truck driver crashed his big rig into an embankment on an interstate highway, causing the immediate death of the driver’s father-in-law who was in the truck’s sleeping compartment.
Although the semi truck driver was not intoxicated, blood tests administered during the investigation revealed that the truck driver had taken several prescription medications that likely impaired his ability to drive. The truck driver ultimately pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle by using a controlled substance. The driver received a ten year prison sentence which will be followed by ten years of extended supervision.
Despite implemented regulations enacted by both our state and federal government which prohibit large commercial vehicle drivers from operating 80,000 pound trucks if they are under the influence of any type of substance (illegal or prescription), the harrowing fact is that it is consistently a common contributing factor in semi truck accidents resulting in devastating injury or death. According to a recent study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, around 44% of semi truck accidents were the direct result of the commercial vehicle driver taking a prescription or over-the-counter medication that negatively affected their driving ability.
Driving ability is almost always adversely affected by prescription medications due to the fact that many prescription medications impair systems in the brain which affect driving ability. In fact, a majority of prescription medications come with severe warnings against operating heavy machinery while taking the medication. Additionally, when prescription drugs are consumed without the supervision of a medical doctor often times impaired driving, as well as, motor vehicle accidents result.
Our Chicago truck accident attorneys know that large commercial vehicle drivers have a significant obligation when taking prescription medications to know if any potential side effect may affect their ability to drive. Semi truck drivers have a duty to report to their trucking carriers if at any time they are administered prescription medications. Failure to do this is a severe violation of a truck driver’s standard of care, as well as, Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations.