Articles Posted in Intoxicated Driving Accidents

As the weather warms up, more people are heading outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and sunny skies. Among various outdoor things people enjoy outdoors during the warmer months, riding utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) or dirt bikes is a common activity. UTVs, however, may not be as safe as they seem—and can pose significant dangers to drivers and passengers alike if they are used improperly.

According to a recent news report, a man driving a UTV was killed when a dump truck backed into him. Local troopers reported that the dump truck was traveling up a hill when it was no longer able to continue uphill and backed into the UTV that was driving behind it. The dump truck pushed the UTV off the left side of the road, where it overturned and the dump truck came to a rest on top of it. The driver of the UTV was pronounced dead on the scene, but the driver of the dump truck was not injured in the crash. The accident remains under investigation by local authorities.

What Are the Risks of Driving a UTV?

Although UTVs include seat belts and a roll cage, they can still pose significant risks to those who drive them and their passengers. Most accidents involve drinking and driving, inexperienced operators, and not driving UTVs as they were intended by failing to use safety equipment or speeding. Outside of driver error, however, UTVs carry many other risks. They often do not have the metal protective exterior of a full car and can be more difficult for some drivers to see on the road. Without a helmet, multi-point harness, or proper eye protection, drivers are often vulnerable to significant injuries if an accident takes place. In addition, UTVs carry a higher risk for rollover than other similar vehicles because its weight and center of gravity do not allow it to shift to balance on corners. Even with a better suspension than similar types of vehicles, UTVs are often at risk of rolling over if the driver turns a corner too quickly or is not careful on bumpy terrain.

Recently, an incredibly tragic truck accident killed four children and injured their father, when an intoxicated truck driver struck them at a high speed. The incident—which could have been prevented had the truck driver not decided to drive under the influence of drugs and illegal substances—is a sobering reminder of how quickly a Maryland truck accident can change a life.

According to a local news source covering the accident, the truck was traveling eastbound on Interstate 70 before the accident.  There were reports that the truck was being driven recklessly, as it was weaving back and forth within traffic and even forced another semi-trailer onto the roadway’s shoulder to avoid an accident. The driver did not slow down or brake when he approached slowing traffic at a construction zone. In fact, GPS information from the truck showed that it was going over 70 miles per hour at the time of the collision. As the truck approached the line of stopped traffic, it struck a rented Chevrolet Impala, pushing it into another semi-trailer and knocking the trailer off of its front axle. The Impala as well as the truck that caused the accident both crossed the left lane into the median, catching fire.

The driver of the Chevrolet Impala was removed from the car by emergency responders. He was immediately flown to the hospital where he was placed into a medically induced coma and admitted to the hospital’s burn unit. Tragically, his four children—ages 15, 13, 8, and 6—all died in the accident.

Intoxicated driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents. Of course, many Maryland DUI accidents are the result of drivers drinking too much alcohol or taking illegal or recreational drugs before getting behind the wheel. However, many prescription drugs impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle as much as alcohol or street drugs.

Under the law, a driver who is intoxicated by prescription drugs can still be negligent and held responsible for an accident victim’s injuries. A recent case discusses a tragic bus accident in which an intoxicated driver killed a young boy.

According to the court’s opinion, a young boy rode his bike into the street without stopping, right into the path of a school bus. The school bus had just stopped, and was proceeding to go through the intersection when the driver heard and felt the bus hit something. The driver slammed on the brakes, exited the vehicle, and learned that she struck the young boy. The boy later died from his injuries,

As if large trucks are not dangerous enough, when an intoxicated driver gets behind the wheel of a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or other large truck, the risk factors skyrocket. It is for this reason that the Maryland legislature has determined that those who hold Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDLs) are to be held to a different standard when it comes to drunk driving.

In Maryland, non-CDL holders are considered “drunk” under the law when they have a blood-alcohol content of .08 or greater. However, due to the risks involved with driving a large truck while intoxicated, a CDL holder’s blood-alcohol content cannot legally exceed .04. Depending on the driver, a person’s blood-alcohol content may reach .04 after just one drink.

The .04 limit applies to all commercial drivers, not just truck drivers. For example, taxi cab drivers and school bus drivers are also subject to that limit. Importantly, the prohibition on intoxicated driving is not limited to alcohol. Commercial drivers are also prohibited from operating a vehicle with any trace of an illegal drug in their system. Similarly, liability may even arise if the driver is taking prescription medication, if it can be shown that they were impaired by the medication.

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