Sharing the road with big trucks requires all drivers to take caution, and requires that drivers pay close attention to the road and their surroundings to keep everyone safe. Tractor-trailer drivers are required to have a special license and typically spend many hours on the road. To the surprise of many, while operating heavy vehicles, there have been numerous occasions where truck drivers are cited for driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. According to the National Drunk Driving statistics shared by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, in 2019, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities made up 32.1 percent of total fatalities in the state of Maryland.
A commercial motor vehicle means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used to transport passengers or cargo and includes any combination vehicles with a gross combination weight of 26,001 or more pounds, as well as any vehicle which is designed to transport 15 or more passengers, including the driver. A commercial motor vehicle can also include a vehicle of any size that transports hazardous materials, which require placarding.
In a recent news article, a driver of a tractor-trailer was criminally charged ten days after a deadly crash that resulted in the death of four individuals in Georgia. A tractor-trailer struck another vehicle in a southbound lane, and then struck a second vehicle. Then the tractor-trailer traveled through the center median into the northbound lane. The tractor-trailer was struck by a Nissan, Honda, and another tractor-trailer before coming to a final stop. Two individuals were found dead at the scene, and these two individuals were passengers in the trailer-tractor of the now-criminally charged driver. The accident caused a total of 12 people to be taken to a hospital for treatment. Two additional individuals later died from their injuries as a result of the accident. The driver of the tractor-trailer was also taken to the hospital, and later arrested and charged with misdemeanors. His charges include an open container violation, following too closely, improper lane change, DUI, and four counts of homicide by vehicle.