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Drunk Driving Accidents Involving Commercial Vehicles

While most drunk driving car accidents involved defendants operating a personal motor vehicle, some accidents involve an at-fault driver behind wheel of a large commercial vehicle, such a semi-tractor trailer or even a fully loaded dump truck carrying 80,000 pounds of gravel.

truck-1560934-300x167Large commercial motor vehicles take an extremely long time to stop, even under ideal conditions. For example, a loaded dump truck traveling at 55 mph would take more than a football field in length to come to a complete stop. When a driver is operating a large commercial vehicle and is tailgating a car in front of them, this is a recipe for disaster if the front car slams on its brakes.

However, rear-end collisions are not the only reason for a car accident involving a commercial motor vehicle. When a truck weighing over 20 tons hits another vehicle, there is so much force being transferred in the accident that it often results in total destruction and serious personal injury or death.

According to recent news article from Wood TV, authorities in Michigan arrested a man for allegedly driving drunk while operating a large truck hauling 27 full size refrigerators.   The incident occurred about 5:30 p.m. on a Monday afternoon. Multiple witnesses saw the large truck allegedly weaving all over the road and decided to call 911.   These callers reported to the 911 dispatcher that suspect was allegedly nearly causing other cars to run off the road, and they were very concerned that he was a danger himself and others.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene, they were able to catch up with suspect and pull his truck over and conduct a DUI traffic stop. When they pulled over defendant, they immediately had probable cause to suspect he was driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor and performed a series of standardized field sobriety tests, and, alleging he failed those test, they administered a chemical test to determine his blood alcohol content (BAC). They allegedly determined his BAC was well over the legal limit.

As our Boston drunk driving accident attorneys can explain, the legal limit for the consumption of alcohol when driving a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is .08 grams of ethanol per 100 milliliters of blood. However, if the driver has a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and was driving a commercial motor vehicle at the time of his or her traffic stop, the legal limit in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is .04 grams of ethanol per hundred milliliters of blood.

In other words, your blood alcohol level must be significantly lower to legally driver a truck or bus than it has to be to drive a privately owned standard sized vehicle. The reason for this is as discussed earlier, driving a commercial motor vehicle requires substantially more concentration and coordination that driving a personal vehicle in preventing accident and when accidents occur involving a truck, the consequences are often far greater.

It should be noted, defendant who was driving the truck full of refrigerators has not been convicted of any crime in connection with this incident and is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty in a court of law.

If you or a loved one was involved in a drunk driving accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Driver hauling 27 refrigerators arrested for drunk driving, July 28, 2015, Wood TV

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