Late last month, a trash truck ran off the road and overturned in Salisbury, throwing the driver from the truck. According to news reports, the driver was “confused” at the scene and is now facing a criminal charge of driving while impaired (DWI).
Although the driver himself was reportedly injured in the crash, there was no indication that other vehicles were involved. This is very fortunate, since a collision between a large truck and a smaller vehicle holds the potential for devastating injuries to those in the smaller vehicle. Tragically, many such accidents also result in fatalities.
The Basics of North Carolina DWI Law
Under North Carolina law, there are multiple levels of punishment for the offense of DWI. Generally, repeat and habitual offenders are subject to much harsher sentences than those charged with DWI for the first time. In some cases, an offender’s vehicle may even be seized or forfeited following a DWI arrest. (In such cases, the local school system has the option to either sell the vehicle or keep it and use it as its own.)
DWI offenders also face the revocation of their driving privileges. Those who refuse to take an Intoxilyzer test or have results of 0.08% or greater breath or blood alcohol content (BAC) can have their license immediately revoked for 30 days. For commercial motor vehicle operators (or drivers under the age of 21), there can be a license suspension if the results are just 0.04%.
This is because North Carolina has a “Zero Tolerance” policy for commercial motor vehicle drivers. It is unlawful for such drivers to drink and drive at all. A first offense can result in a 10-day disqualification to operate a commercial motor vehicle; subsequent offenses can cause a commercial driver to lose his or her privilege of operating any vehicle. This policy applies not only to semi-truck, 18-wheeler, and big rig drivers but also to those who drive school buses or child care vehicles.
Given that a BAC of 0.04% can result from the consumption of just one drink, this policy may seem harsh to some. However, even at this relatively low BAC, driving skills can be significantly affected. Given the propensity for serious injuries and losses of life resulting from commercial motor vehicle accidents, “Zero Tolerance” makes sense. This is especially true when one considers that “buzzed driving” may be combined with other factors (including speeding, fatigue or drowsiness, or distracted driving, such as texting or cellphone use) that can further increase the chances of a serious multi-vehicle accident.
Need Help with a North Carolina Truck Wreck Lawsuit?
Truck accidents happen frequently on our North Carolina roadways. Those who have been harmed by the negligence, carelessness, or reckless behavior of a truck driver or trucking company have the right to pursue monetary compensation through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced North Carolina truck accident lawyer at Nagle & Associates can help your family get started on the path to financial recovery following a truck crash. Call us at (800) 411-1583 to schedule a no-obligation, complimentary case evaluation. We serve clients throughout the state, including in Raleigh, Winston-Salem, and Charlotte.
Related Blog Posts