What You Need to Know about Trucking DUI Laws
We rely on truck drivers to get goods from one side of the country to another. Without these drivers, the economy would come to a screeching halt. However, that does not mean truck drivers shouldn’t be held accountable when they disobey the rules of the road.
Georgia has strict laws concerning truck drivers and alcohol. These laws are meant to protect everyday drivers, who could be put at risk if a truck driver gets behind the wheel while inebriated.
In case you are ever injured by an intoxicated truck driver in GA, here’s what you should know.
The Differences Between DUIs for Truck and Car Drivers
Driving while drunk is illegal everywhere in the United States, Georgia included. However, there is a difference between what is legally drunk for someone who drives a passenger vehicle and what is legally drunk for someone who drives a commercial vehicle. Under Georgia law, truck drivers may only have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04%. That is half the typical BAC of .08% for car drivers.
On top of that, a truck driver who drivers with a BAC of over .04% faces worse consequences than other drivers who get behind the wheel drunk. Typical penalties for a DUI conviction include fines, time behind bars, a license suspension, and required courses at a driver’s ed school. A truck driver who is convicted of a DUI will face all of those consequences, plus a 12-month ban from driving any commercial vehicles. That means a truck driver will essentially be out of the job for a year.
The Dangers of a Drunk Truck Driver
While those penalties are steep, many negligent truck drivers still get behind the wheel with a BAC level over .04%. Truckers have a lower BAC limit for a good reason. Trucks are much more difficult to control than passenger vehicles.
Stopping time: Trucks are heavy, sometimes weighing over 80,000 pounds. This means they take a very long time to stop fully. Truck drivers need to use excellent judgment to bring the truck to a stop before it collides with other traffic. With a slower reaction time due to the alcohol, a drunk truck driver would not be able to bring the truck to a complete stop before hitting other cars and crushing them.
High center of gravity: Due to their large size, trucks have high centers of gravity. This means they can easily tip and fall over. A truck driver needs to compensate for this risk by going the appropriate speed at all times, including when going downhill or taking a turn. A drunk driver could forget to take this risk into consideration or may only be able to keep the truck driving straight, creating a very high risk of the truck falling or flipping.
Tight maneuvering: Due to the long stopping time and the high center of gravity, suddenly changing course with a big rig is incredibly dangerous. If a truck driver needs to change lanes or take a turn, then he or she needs to make the transition slowly. Otherwise, the truck could roll over, jackknife, or crush a nearby car. An intoxicated truck driver will not have the concentration to make these slow maneuvers, and may try to rush things, leading to a serious accident.
How to Recover
A truck accident, especially one caused by a drunk truck driver, is not easy to recover from. These kinds of collisions often result in catastrophic injuries, such as brain damage, spinal cord injuries, and even traumatic amputation. While there is no way to undo the damage that was done, you can at least hold the at-fault truck driver responsible for your injuries.
Doing so, however, will require the help of an Atlanta truck accident attorney. We at Grant Law Office have years of experience helping truck accident victims. If you want to set up your free consultation, call us at (404) 995-3955 today. We are ready to give you the help you need.
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