For those out there who believe that every commercial trucker is the paramount of professionalism, we are here to say, albeit sadly, that this is not always the case. Just as with the motoring public in general, there are good apples and bad. Fortunately for most of us, the bad apples are few and far between, but this does not mean that there is not cause for concern vis-à-vis traffic accidents caused by negligence; this portion of the driving public is still over represented, at least from our standpoint as Maryland personal injury lawyers.
The point we are trying to make here is that while not every car, truck or motorcycle operator is a perfect driver, there are some very bad actors in our midst every day or every month. We, as motorists, may not realize we are sharing the road with potentially negligent individuals, which is a blessing in some regards. The downside, of course, is that one never knows when tragic traffic accident may strike as a result of one of these bad apples.
If you think that commercial truck drivers are less than likely to be poor or negligent drivers, you could be right. While most truckers obey traffic laws and Federal regulations and guidelines for operating these 80,000-pound rigs, there is a percent of truckers who flout the law either surreptitiously or even openly in some instances. Of course, they face stiff penalties, not the least of which is forfeiture of their commercial driver’s license (CDL), which can bring their truck driving career to a halt very quickly.
Still, many seem to manage day in and day out until something happens and fate works against one last time. Given the number of miles that operators of 18-wheeler big rigs travel each year, it is surprising how long some of these sub-par drivers get by without making a fatal error, either injuring or killing someone, or even themselves in the process.
We were reminded of this when we came upon a news brief describing an errant semi that couldn’t make it under an overpass along a stretch of Leesport Avenue in Ontelaunee Township, MD. According to local police, the incident happened just before midnight on a Sunday in January.
According to news reports, an officer on patrol happened upon a semi tractor-trailer that apparently became wedged under a railroad viaduct. Approaching the vehicle, the patrolman noticed that the driver had placed a reflective caution triangle on the road behind the truck. Observing the vehicle itself, the officer could see that the trailer had major damage.
The driver, 45-year-old John Hammonds of Baltimore County, was reportedly in the cab of the idling semi when the officer requested him to exit the vehicle. As he apparently tried to explain to the patrolman that he had made the mistake of ignoring the height-restriction posted on the bridge, the officer reportedly detected the odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath.
The policeman asked if Hammonds had been drinking that day and the man responded he had been at a bar earlier in the evening. He was taken into custody and transported to St. Joseph Medical Center for a blood-alcohol test. While the exact results were not available at the time of the news article, the trucker was reportedly charged with DUI. As we touched on previously, any commercial vehicle operator who drinks and driver risks much, not the least of which are the lives and well-being of other innocent persons who may become victims of his negligent actions.
Trucker charged with DUI after rig stuck under bridge, ReadingEagle.com, January 24, 2012