Articles Posted in Drunk Driving

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Truck drivers face high stress and dangerous jobs. They’re on the road for many hours and face tight deadlines as well as other pressures. Some experts worry that the high stress which is part of his occupation as well as social isolation and the pressure to meet tight deadlines can push drivers to try illegal substances or even to experience addiction.

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Most truck drivers use caffeine to stay alert. However, there our studies suggesting more controlled substances are sometimes used by drivers. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a number of safeguards measure to avoid addicted drivers from driving commercial trucks. Trucks drivers are subject to strict pre-employment screening processes, which includes checks for drug and alcohol addiction. In addition, commercial truck drivers are subject to post-accident and random testing for alcohol and drugs. Surveys of US drivers by the FSMCSA suggest that only about 1% of US drivers test positive in random drug and alcohol tests.

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One argument for self-driving trucks is that many trucking accidents are caused by human errors and human factors. Whether you agree with the idea of self-driving trucks or not, there’s no doubt that on-the-road mistakes made by passenger car and truck drivers do lead to collisions.

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The most common human factors causing car accidents in Homestead and across Florida include:

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This holiday weekend, more travelers will be on the roads. From revelers headed to Independence Day festivities in Homestead, Miami, and other communities to tourists taking advantage of the holiday weekend to visit Florida, there will be more cars on the road. As more events take place, trucks will also be on the roadways in greater numbers, delivering products to special events.

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If you are driving anywhere this weekend, you will be sharing the streets with other road users. Here are some tips to get to your destinations safely:

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At this time of year, with many holiday parties taking place, DUI accidents in Hollywood and the rest of Southern Florida become a real concern for authorities. Each year, drunk driving accidents happen in the region because passenger car drivers make bad decisions after drinking.

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However, it’s not just a passenger car drivers who take risks. Commercial truck drivers have stricter rules about drinking and driving. They are subject to random drug and alcohol tests in many cases and there is less tolerance if they cause an accident while under the influence. Despite this, DUI accidents involving trucks can and do take place.

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In May, two judges in Broward County faced issues with DUI driving. One Broward County judge was suspended from the bench after being in a car collision and being arrested for DUI charges. A Broward Circuit Judge was also arrested after colliding with a parked patrol car in Fort Lauderdale. The judge in that case had trouble passing a field sobriety test but had a .000 in two breath alcohol tests. The judge alleged that she had taken Ambien before the incident. In November of last year, another Broward County judge was arrested on DUI charges following an incident in Boca Raton. The judges were booked and eventually released on bond or bail in all cases.

The charges have some questioning whether the judges should be permitted to continue serving on the bench. Judges are of course expected to be impartial and fair in DUI/DWI cases in Hollywood and other Broward County cases. If the judges are dealing with criminal conduct themselves, it can raise the question of whether they can be unbiased when faced with similar cases at work.

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The arrests also have some questioning why the drunk driving charges are occurring. Drivers of course know that drunk driving can cause car accidents in Hollywood and Broward County communities. Why would educated drivers take such risks with their safety and the safety of others?

If nothing else, the arrests point to the fact that knowing that drunk driving in Hollywood is unsafe may not be enough to prevent instances of driving under the influence. There may be many reasons why drivers continue to drive inebriated:

1) Drivers may be so inebriated that they have a hard time recognizing their risks. The most recently arrested Broward Circuit Judge, when interviewed by police after her collision, claimed that she had been in an accident earlier in the day. Police reported that she had claimed that she had been forced off the road by a truck but when she showed police a cell phone video of the alleged collision they saw the judge’s vehicle weaving around the road and colliding with a barrier. No truck was apparent in the video. In addition, the judge repeatedly told police that she had not been drinking, although she had trouble standing on one leg and police reported that her speech was slurred. In some cases, such as this one, someone who is inebriated or affected by medication may have a hard time determining that they are incapable of driving safely. In these cases, it is important for others around them to prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

2) Drivers may feel little or no social pressure to avoid drinking and driving. Some drivers may feel that they will not cause a car or truck accident in Hollywood or their community and may get behind the wheel of a truck after drinking because they think they can get away with it.

3) Drivers may tell themselves that driving under the influence is acceptable “this once.” Sometimes, drivers will excuse or justify driving under the influence. Commercial truck drivers, for example, may think that they need to make a deadline or may tell themselves that they are not “that” affected. In some cases, a motorist may think they are fine to drive because they are skilled or because they have only a short distance to drive. Of course, none of these excuses are acceptable.

4) More education may be need to be done about the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter medication. Medication can be just as dangerous when driving as alcohol and some drivers may be unaware of the risks of driving after taking a specific medication. Medications such as Ambien and others can and do lead to serious accidents each year. It is important for patients to read their medication instructions and for doctors and pharmacists to warn patients of the dangers.

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of fatal truck accidents increased between 2011 and 2012. In fact, the total number of trucking accident fatalities across the country jumped by 140 – to 3,921 fatalities – during this time period. Surprisingly, the number of truck drivers increased to 697 in 2012, an increase from 240 truck drive fatalities in 2011.

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In response to the figures, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) evaluated what might be causing the serious trucking accidents across the country. The agency identified three main factors that could be causing trucking accidents in Homestead and other cities across the country:

1) Fatigue. Truck driver fatigue in Homestead and other cities is a known risk factor in traffic crashes. Tired drivers are more likely to make dangerous mistakes that lead to an accident. They may also fall asleep at the wheel, entering oncoming lanes and causing head-on crashes in Homestead and other cities. According to the FMCSA, long-haul truckers face tight delivery deadlines that may cause stress and may push some drivers to scrimp on sleep. Last year, the FMCSA changed hours of service rules to address this problem. Under the new regulations, truck drivers must have one 34-hour rest period per week before starting a new work week, and work weeks are now limited to a maximum of 70 hours of work.

2) Speeding. When truck drivers speed, they can easily lose control of their vehicles, especially when heavy cargo is involved. In addition, trucking accidents involving speeding are more likely to lead to multiple-vehicle accidents, fatalities, and rollover accidents in Homestead and other communities. The FMCSA has proposed new rules that would mandate speed limiters on trucks in order to prevent speeding.

3) DUI. According to the FMCSA and the National Transportation Safety Board, approximately 35% of truck drivers who suffer fatalities in crashes have illegal drugs of alcohol in their blood at the time of the collision. Illegal drugs used by truck drivers include marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines. Currently, urine tests are required of commercial truck drivers in order to detect drug use. However, the Senate has been looking at proposed laws which would allow hair testing, instead. This can help discover habitual drug users and is considered a more accurate type of drug testing.

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Much is written about drunk driving accidents in Homestead and across the country. According to government statistics, there were 33,625 DUI convictions in Florida in 2011 alone. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving is a national epidemic, with a person being injured in a drunk driving accident, on average, every ninety seconds. In 2011, 9,878 Americans were killed in traffic collisions involving drunk driving.

But how many of those accidents involve commercial truck drivers?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers have a lower instance of DUI when compared with other motorists, in part because the rules for drivers of big rigs and tractor trailers are stricter. According to the FMCSA, commercial truck drivers must pass pre-employment screening as well as post-crash and random alcohol and drug tests. The FMCSA also runs a Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey of truck drivers and these surveys show that positive drug and alcohol tests for commercial drivers are at about 1%.

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However, a recent review of crash literature and studies conducted by Edmarlon Girotto of the Universidade Estadual de Londrina in the Brazilian state of Parana found that drugs and alcohol may be a bigger concern than many have thought. His research suggests that about 30% of truck drivers worldwide admitted to using amphetamines and about one in two admitted to drinking and driving on the job. Girotto also found a study from the U.S. showing a 12.5% rate of positive alcohol tests – the highest in the world and in stark contrast to the FMCSA’s findings.

So who is right? Do commercial truck drivers really help prevent car and truck accidents in Homestead and other communities by refusing to drive under the influence or is DUI driving a major cause of traffic accidents on our streets?

Research conflicts on the subject, although most research does suggest that commercial truck drivers do have lower risks of accidents and injuries when compared with passenger car drivers. The stricter regulations and more careful screening and training could be part of the reason for that. However, there is no doubt that even a single traffic accident in Homestead caused by drunk driving is unacceptable, since these accidents are completely preventable.

Fortunately, in cases where a motorist is injured by a drunk driver, they do have options. If the at-fault driver is a commercial truck driver, the injured motorist can pursue criminal charges as well as a legal claim against the truck driver, motor carrier, and other possible liable parties. This allows the plaintiff to look for compensation for lost income, medical bills, and other expenses related to their injuries. It also sends a very strong message to both the motor carriers and truck drivers that DUI accidents will not be tolerated. When motor carriers stand to lose significant money due to DUI accidents and when truck drivers stand to lose their jobs and income, more strides may be made in eradicating drinking and driving.

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In Hollywood, truck accidents may be caused by additional pressure and the type of work conditions that occur during this time of year. According to insurance companies, claims for traffic accidents in Hollywood and other cities go up during this month. There are several factors that could be contributing to more collisions at this time of year:

1) There may be more temporary workers – and drivers — during the holiday season. Stores demand more products to meet holiday demands and many customers want delivery of their products as well. All of this means more truck traffic and this means more pressure on motor carriers to put more trucks and more drivers on the road. As a result, at this time of year there may be more newer drivers on the roads as motor carriers try to meet demands.

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2) There are more deliveries during the holiday season. Stores often offer extra incentives – such as deliveries to customers’ doors – and both stores and customers are ordering more products for the holidays. This not only means more trucks on city streets, but it also means more deliveries being made to places that drivers may not be familiar with (such as customer homes). This can increase the risk of car or truck accidents in Hollywood and other communities.

3) There is more traffic during the holiday season.
There are more pedestrians taking advantage of holiday events and more cars on the roads as residents visit family and go shopping. There are also more trucks on the roads making more deliveries. More people sharing the roads can mean more congestion and the potential for collisions.

4) There are tighter deadlines during the holiday season. This time of year is hectic. Everyone wants gifts delivered by a certain day, and this can put extra pressure on truck drivers to drive for longer hours to make deliveries on time. However, when drivers ignore hours of service rules and fail to get proper rest they can easily cause a crash.

5) There is more work and personal pressure during the holidays. In addition to more work pressure to make more deadlines, truck drivers may be distracted by their own holiday plans, shopping lists, and holiday events.

6) Passenger car drivers may be more distracted during this time of year. Motorists are not subject to the same strict rules as truck drivers. At this hectic time of year, drivers of passenger cars may be trying to multitask in their cars or may be exhausted due to the many holiday pressures they face. Even when truck drivers are cautious, they may still need to deal with DUI car accidents in Hollywood and with aggressive or distracted drivers.

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Drunk driving accidents in Hollywood are unfortunately still all too common. It is especially upsetting for families who have lost a loved one to a drunk driving accident to find out that a drunk driver has a history of driving under the influence and continued to drive. These types of accidents are also devastating because they are completely preventable: all drivers have other options but some chose to drive inebriated anyway, risking their lives due to recklessness.

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When drunk driving accidents are Hollywood truck accidents, it can be even more upsetting. Truck drivers, after all, are held to a higher standard than passenger car drivers because they are professionals. Professional commercial drivers are expected to pass stricter driving test and get additional training when compared with passenger car drivers. There also subject to drug and alcohol tests and are subject to strict penalties if they drive drunk or distracted. When commercial truck drivers choose to drive drunk, they are violating not only the rules of the road but they are also violating the rules under which they were employed.

DUI truck accidents are more likely than most drunk driving accidents to lead to fatalities and serious injuries. The large size of a commercial truck creates enough force to cause a multiple-car collision. Out-of-control trucks can easily crush a smaller vehicle, which is one reason why truck drivers have so many restrictions and rules governing their jobs. For someone who is a pedestrian or is riding a motorcycle or bicycle, there are few layers of protection and a truck accident is likely to lead to fatalities or serious, permanent injuries.

Despite the risks, truck and car accidents in Hollywood do sometimes occur due to a truck driver who is driving under the influence. Truck drivers may drive not only drunk, but they may also take illegal or over-the-counter or prescribed medication in order to stay awake or in order to drive more hours than is legally allowed. In these cases, drivers may fall asleep at the wheel or may lose control of their vehicle, leading to a serious accident.

In cases where a DUI truck accident has occurred, there are usually multiple liable parties. The truck driver is often held liable, but the motor carrier can also be held liable if they did not screen driver carefully or did not notice that a truck driver had a problem. If you have been injured in a traffic accident in Hollywood, pursuing multiple liable parties can improve your chances of getting fair compensation for your injuries.

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three percent of fatal US truck accidents in 2010 involved a drunk truck driver. Of these drivers, 2% had a Blood Alcohol Level of.08 to .14. The legal limit across the US is .08. While the percentage of large truck drivers who were drinking and driving was lower than the levels of drunk drivers among passenger car drivers, motorcyclists, and other motorists, it is still a concern that three percent of drivers in fatal truck accidents had been drinking.

Miami drunk driving accidents are not only entirely preventable, but they can be especially devastating when a large commercial truck is involved. Large commercial trucks can cause incredible devastation, and can collide with numerous trucks, cars, and vehicles on the road, causing multiple injuries and even fatalities. These devastating accidents can even cause secondary accidents, as the initial Miami truck collision could obstruct traffic or damage the road, leading to more accidents. Miami truck accidents routinely result in fatalities, broken bones, amputations, Miami spinal cord injuries, Miami head injuries, and other serious injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a new “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign to reduce the numbers of drunk drivers even further. The agency will be joining with other groups and law enforcement across the country to crack down on drunk driving.

These and other initiatives are designed to help prevent drunk driving, but it is ultimately up to truck drivers and motorists of passenger vehicles to stop drunk driving. It is up to drivers themselves to avoid getting in their car or truck if they have been driving. Whether you drive a truck or car, it is important to always have a “get home safe plan” if you have been drinking. Even if you do not plan on drinking during an evening, it is important to have a plan to get home safely if you do change your mind and consume alcohol. Having a solid plan in place is the best way to ensure that you will not make a poor choice if you have been drinking. Keeping extra money in your glove compartment and the numbers of some taxi companies is a good precaution to take.

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