NHTSA: Alcohol a factor in fatal trucking accidents nationwide

There's No Substitute for Experience

While we may all like to think that truck drivers are following the law and are 100 percent alert when behind the wheel, a recent statistic shed light on the issue of alcohol abuse by truck drivers. It turns out that 3 percent of truck drivers who were involved in a fatal accident in 2010 had been drinking alcohol prior to the crash. Of those 3 percent, 2 percent had blood alcohol contents between 0.08 percent and 0.14 percent. The legal limit in all 50 states is 0.08 percent.

Additionally, some of those truck drivers even had blood alcohol contents that were higher than 0.15 percent.

The release of this information coincides with the “Drive Sober Get Pulled Over” nationwide campaign that will run from Aug. 17 through Labor Day weekend. The increased enforcement to get drunk drivers off the road -- before they injure themselves or others -- is a combined effort by many entities, including local law enforcement, the Governors Highway Safety Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

This campaign is also not only targeted toward truck drivers, but rather all drivers as anyone can make the deadly decision to drive drunk. In fact, according to data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there were 10,228 traffic-related fatalities in 2010 where impairment from alcohol played a role. This is the equivalent of one drunk driving-related death happening on a U.S. roadway once every 51 minutes.

Broken down, according to data, motorcyclists had the highest number of alcohol-related accidents and truck drivers actually had the lowest number. There were also plenty of accidents -- many of which could have been prevented -- among all drivers, including those driving passenger cars and buses.

The hope is this type of more concentrated enforcement will lead to fewer truck accidents caused by drunk drivers not only in Tennessee but across the entire U.S.

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