Louisiana is a state closely associated with the nightlife, the arts and entertainment. As such, it’s not that surprising that the state as a whole has a larger than average number of people who get caught driving drunk every year. You might think that if you just avoid tourist areas and the roads when the bars are closing, you could limit your risk of encountering one of those drunk drivers.
However, Louisiana is also a state that is home to one of the biggest ports in the country, which means that a lot of commercial traffic flows through the state into other markets. A large number of commercial trucks make their way through Louisiana heading north, east or west.
Unfortunately, much like the drivers of passenger vehicles, some of those commercial drivers will likely be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving a large, commercial truck. That means major risk at times of the day and in places you might not associate with impaired driving.
There are laws against impaired commercial driving
As you probably already know, Louisiana has state laws that make it illegal for someone to drive while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating drugs. Commercial drivers on Louisiana roads are subject to state impaired-driving laws as well as to federal law that prohibits impairments while driving a commercial vehicle.
Commercial drivers get held to a lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) standard than drivers of smaller vehicles. A driver who has only 0.04% BAC in their system can face both criminal charges and the loss of their license. Even if a commercial driver gets caught driving under the influence while in their own vehicle and not at work, that can influence their eligibility for a commercial license.
Unfortunately, with demand for truck drivers far exceeding the skilled supply available, companies have begun to bend their safety rules, which could include choosing to hire someone who has previous substance abuse issues on their record.
The victims of drunk drivers have the right to take action
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is absolutely negligent, as most people readily acknowledge that impairment makes them a worse and less safe driver. Driving while drunk is also a wrongful act because it violates the law. That means that those who suffer injuries or incur expensive property damage caused by a drunk driver in a commercial truck have options for receiving compensation.
It is often possible to bring a claim against the driver who was drunk at the time of the crash. They may also be able to bring a claim against the company that employed them in certain circumstances. While a lawsuit won’t undo the damage a drunk truck driver could cause your family, it does at least ensure that they face consequences for their actions and that your family doesn’t have to shoulder the costs of the crash.