Drunk Truck Driver Causing a Portland Trucking Accident

Drunk Truck Driver Causing a Portland Trucking Accident

Liability Under FMCAS Regulations for a Drunk Truck Driver Causing a Portland Trucking Accident

Drunk driving is a serious problem.  According to the CDC, 29 people die each day in a drunk driving accident and over 10,000 people die each year in the United States.  This is a staggering number which can result in life-changing injuries or the wrongful death of a victim.  This also affects an entire family, especially if the victim was the primary care giver or breadwinner.  Many families depend on all people in the family being able to contribute financially, physically, or emotionally to the entire family.  When a drunk driver takes a family member out of that equation, it can spell disaster for a family.  This is why every state has made drunk driver illegal.  There are also federal trucking regulations which also make drunk driving illegal.  Unfortunately, a drunk truck driver causing a Portland trucking accident is still a common problem.

Even though the entire United States prohibits drunk driving, and even though everyone from a high schooler in driver’s ed to a retiree knows that drunk driving is unnecessarily dangerous and deadly, far too many drunk drivers cause far too many drunk driving accidents in Oregon and the rest of the country.  This is particularly true of truck drivers, who when they drive drunk take an already dangerous motor vehicle and turn it into an unguided missile or battering ram.  This could easily wrongfully kill or seriously injure an innocent person, including an entire family in a smaller passenger vehicle.

While it is unnecessary because every state has drunk driving laws, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a federal agency which has created regulations which pertain to truck drivers and trucking companies throughout the United States.  This includes in Oregon.  These regulations set the minimum requirements that all trucking companies and truck drivers most comply with no matter what state they are in, going to, or coming from.  In terms of drunk driving regulations, these are the strictest drunk driving rules anywhere.

FMCSA Regulations on Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is prohibited under all state laws and federal regulations.  But while most states have a .08 BAC, under FMCSA regulations that BAC is 0.0 as required under 49 CFR section 392.4.  This means that a drunk driver cannot have any alcohol in his or her system, a completely zero BAC.

Not only this, but the FMCSA regulations under 49 CFR section 392.5 also require that a truck driver does not use any alcohol within four hours of starting a shift.  This means that a truck driver cannot even have any alcohol while NOT driving.  This is by far the strictest drunk driving rule because it requires cessation of alcohol consumption before a shift even starts.  Thus, a truck driver with a BAC over 0.0 at the start of a shift may be violating this rule.

Mandatory Alcohol Testing After a Portland Trucking Accident

When a drunk truck driver causing a Portland trucking accident seriously injures or wrongfully kills an innocent person, a trucking company is usually also liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior.  This means that an employer is liable for the actions of an employee.  

But a trucking company also has obligations after certain types of trucking accidents to test an employee for alcohol.  This is a FMCSA regulations under 49 CFR section 382.303.  For instance, a trucking company must test a driver automatically in the following situations:

  • Any fatality in a trucking accident 
  • When a truck driver receives a ticket for a trucking accident causing bodily injury requiring immediate medical treatment away from the scene
  • When the truck driver receives a ticket for a trucking accident and there is disabling damage to a vehicle which must be towed away, and
  • Whenever there is “reasonable suspicion” that a truck driver appears or may have been under the influence of alcohol.

Ask our Portland Trucking Accident Lawyers for Help

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of a trucking accident or collision contact the Oregon Truck Accident Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.  

Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton,  Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles,  St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.  

We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take Trucking accident cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.  

Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law. 

For a free case evaluation


(541) 385-1999 in Bend, Oregon
(503) 479-3646 in Portland, Oregon
(612) 444-3374 in Minnesota

– or fill out the form below –

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