Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

Who Is Liable When a Commercial Driver Drives Drunk?

Who is liable when a commercial truck driver causes a commercial DUI accident? What criminal penalties can these drivers face for their actions? Drunk driving continues to be a problem in America, and nearly 31% of all motor vehicle fatalities in the US are caused by drunk drivers. When a commercial driver causes a crash, the driver and their employer may be liable for the personal injuries and property damage they cause. Moreover, they can face severe criminal penalties that can park their driving career permanently on the side of the road.

Commercial DUI in the United States

Commercial drivers who operate a vehicle with a BAC of .04% or greater are driving under the influence in the eyes of the law. In 2017, 4,600 large truck drivers with a BAC of .01 or higher were involved in fatal collisions. Those with a BAC of .08 or greater represented about 2.5% of all fatal crashes that same year, which was the highest percentage recorded over the previous 20 years. By comparison, in 2016, 4,193 large truck drivers with the BAC range of higher than .01 were involved in fatal crashes, with 1.7 percent being over a BAC of .08.

Commercial truck drivers are required to undergo regular, random drug and alcohol testing. Last year, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration surveys showed that approximately 1% of test results return positive for alcohol consumption. When a commercial driver is involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is mandatory that they undergo a drug and alcohol screen to either verify or rule out alcohol as a contributing cause to the collision.

Criminal Penalties for Commercial DUI Accident in Kansas

CDL holders in Kansas are not eligible for diversion programs even if they were operating their own private vehicle at the time of their accident or arrest. This means that any conviction for a DUI will go on their driving record.

CDL holders who are convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Kansas can have their license suspended for one year for the first offense, and for life upon a second offense. A first offense can also result in jail time of up to six months; a second offense can carry a penalty of up to one year in prison.

Call Brad Pistotnik Law at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400 to pursue a claim following a commercial DUI accident. We represent clients pursuing commercial DUI claims in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, or Texas. We give emergency legal consultations on weekends, holidays and at night. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can reach Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237.