Drunk Driving Truck Accidents in Portland

No one should ever get behind the wheel of a vehicle when they have had too much to drink. The law dictates that .08 is the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) cut-off for driving under the influence. However, these laws apply to people who drive passenger vehicles. Truckers and other commercial drivers are subject to federal regulations that prohibit them from driving within four hours of being intoxicated.

When an intoxicated trucker caused injuries to you or a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation for those injuries and any related economic and noneconomic damages. A reliable truck accident attorney can explore the circumstances of the accident to determine which avenues of recovery may be available. Talk to a lawyer to learn more about drunk driving truck accidents in Portland.

Operating a Vehicle While Under the Influence

Maine Statutes Title 29 § 2411 outlaws driving while under the influence of drugs or while intoxicated. There is no legally permitted level of illegal drugs for drivers. For prescription drugs, the state must prove the amount in the trucker’s system can lead to negligent behavior. For alcohol, the statute establishes a .08 BAC, which is the same for commercial drivers.

Alcohol or drugs could still contribute to a truck collision in Portland even if the driver was not legally intoxicated. As soon as someone drinks any alcohol, it begins to impair their ability to drive. By the time the BAC is .08, people are approximately 250 percent more likely to be in a wreck. The more alcohol or drugs a person consumes, the greater the likelihood of an accident.

With a BAC as low as .02, alcohol begins to impact the risk of a crash. It can make drivers less inhibited, which can lead to riskier behavior. By the time BAC reaches .05, drivers become less alert and can begin to lose coordination. Some signs that a driver may be intoxicated include:

  • Weaving
  • Speeding
  • Straddling lanes
  • Improper passing
  • Running over curbs
  • Erratic lane changes
  • Failure to use signals
  • Going excessively slow
  • Running lights or stop signs

In addition,  drivers can experience dulled reaction times, which can lead to collisions. If a driver’s BAC is below the legal limit — but an attorney’s theory is that intoxication led to the accident — they may need to investigate the circumstances of the crash. They can use witness evidence to help support the idea that intoxication contributed to the incident.

Federal Regulations for Commercial Drivers

It is not state laws alone that govern commercial drivers. According to 49 C.F.R. § 392.5, drivers cannot consume or be under the influence of alcohol within four hours of going on duty. This regulation does not contain a specific BAC but any BAC over .00 may be prohibited. It takes four to five hours for someone’s BAC to go from .08 to .00 — the four-hour window should result in a driver having a near-zero BAC by the time they get behind the wheel.

The lower the BAC, the more difficult it is to prove that intoxication played a role in a collision. If the trucker is facing criminal charges, it can simultaneously simplify and complicate civil cases. As long as the responding officers test the trucker’s BAC, a lawyer can use those numbers to establish intoxication in a Portland drunk trucker accident.

Call Us After Being Injured in a Drunk Driving Truck Accident in Portland

People who are hit by a semi-truck often suffer severe injuries. You may require lifelong medical care and never be able to return to work. That can change the entire dynamic of a family and lead to significant emotional trauma.

Fortunately, Maine law allows victims to recover for economic and non-economic damages. Depending on the level of intoxication, a court may even find it necessary to support punitive damages. Schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney to receive legal advice about drunk driving truck accidents in Portland.