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St. Louis Drunk Driving Truck Accidents

In the United States, one person dies in a drunk driving accident every 52 minutes. More than 10,000 people lost their lives nationally in accidents caused by drunk drivers in 2019, with 240 of those deaths happening in Missouri.

In crashes involving large trucks and passenger vehicles, 97% of the fatalities occur to those in passenger vehicles. In 2017, more than 4,700 people died nationally in crashes involving large trucks, defined as one with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds. Specifically, commercial vehicles contributed to 127 fatalities in Missouri in 2020.

The Effects of St. Louis Drunk Driving Truck Accidents

Although anti-drunk driving campaigns have lowered the number of deaths in the United States, millions of people still drink and drive. Unfortunately, Missouri’s drunk driving statistics are worse than the national average. About 2.2 percent of Missourians reported that they got behind the wheel after drinking too much within 30 days before the survey, compared with only 1.7 percent nationally. 

In Missouri, driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.08 is illegal. Driving with any measurable alcohol in your system is unlawful if you’re younger than 21, and young drivers can lose their licenses even for first-time offenses. Drunk driving offenses can also lead to jail time. The law allows the Missouri State Highway Patrol to establish publicized sobriety checkpoints to catch drunk drivers.

Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

About 41,000 to 45,000 traffic deaths occur annually in the United States. Pedestrians and bikers account for about 15% of those deaths. Fewer than 9% of traffic deaths involve commercial vehicles, and more than 80% of those accidents are the fault of the non-commercial driver. Of those fatal accidents involving commercial drivers, 4% are the result of truck driver fatigue, while drinking accounts for 0.06%.

Dangers Posed by Drunk Truck Drivers on St. Louis Interstates and Roads

Commercial truck drivers operating their vehicles under the influence of alcohol pose significant dangers to others on the roadways. They might have slower reaction times, leading to rear-end fatal crashes or missing traffic signals, resulting in T-bone or other severe accidents. 

Alcohol also can impair judgment and decrease hand-eye coordination. Trying to maneuver a large, awkward vehicle with blind spots becomes even more dangerous with the involvement of alcohol. Additionally, drunk truck drivers might have blurred vision or lose focus and fall asleep at the wheel. 

Because of their impaired judgment, truck drivers driving under the influence of alcohol are also more likely to engage in aggressive or risky behaviors, such as speeding or dangerous passing. Weaving and swerving can result in running off the road and rollovers. 

Lastly, truck drivers who have been drinking may be unable to perceive others and are more likely to cause serious accidents, resulting in severe injuries to or deaths of other drivers, motorcyclists, or pedestrians.

Missouri Drunk Driving Laws for Truckers

Missouri has strict drunk driving laws for truckers. Commercial drivers must adhere to a higher standard than other drivers. While the legal BAC limit for all drivers is 0.08 percent, it is considerably less for drivers of commercial vehicles, set at 0.04 percent, regardless of whether the license holder is driving their commercial truck or personal vehicle. The amount of alcohol a driver must drink to exceed the legal limit depends on several factors and varies by individual.

When a law enforcement official stops someone for drunk driving, two separate sections of Missouri law, found in criminal and administrative statutes, govern the arrest and suspension or revocation of their license. Even if there’s a disposal of the ticket or reduction of charges in criminal court, administratively, a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license can still occur.

If you receive a criminal conviction of driving while intoxicated (DWI), you may face several penalties that vary depending upon your case’s specific facts. Penalties can range from points added to your driving record to jail time, which can span anywhere from six months for a first conviction to four years for a third conviction. 

A DWI conviction can disqualify an individual from holding a CDL for one to 10 years for first convictions and for life for subsequent convictions. Additionally, license suspensions or revocations can also extend to a commercial driver’s regular driver’s license. Truck drivers engaging in drunk driving behaviors may face fines for minor instances. If an accident causes a fatality, they may be looking at a voluntary manslaughter charge, a Class B or C felony punishable by a prison term of up to 15 years.

St. Louis Drunk Driving Truck Accident Damages

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) presented data showing 10,142 deaths nationally from drunk driving accidents in 2019. Additionally, the government agency found that 28 people in the U.S. lose their lives daily in accidents involving drunk drivers, equating to one person’s death every 52 minutes. 

It doesn’t take excessive alcohol drinking to begin to impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle. A person’s judgment can start to decline with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of just 0.02. It’s not illegal to drive with a BAC of under 0.08. However, any alcohol in their system is unallowable for a truck driver. 

Drunk driving wrecks can be severe even when involving two passenger vehicles. Alcohol can stave off inhibitions, resulting in exaggerated and risky behaviors lacking a filter for reasoning, danger detection, and good decision-making skills. In turn, drunk drivers typically won’t take any actions to prevent crashes, meaning if they hit you, it’ll be at full force. 

Crashes involving drunk truck drivers can cause considerably more damage because of the truck’s sheer weight and size, especially if the other vehicle involved is a passenger car. The crash is likely to result in the total destruction of the smaller vehicle, but worse, the risk for serious, permanent, and deadly injuries increases significantly. More severe injuries can lead to prolonged recovery times, missed work, or an inability to work in the same position or altogether. 

Common Injuries After Drunk Driving Truck Accidents

More than 2.5 million people go to emergency rooms annually because of injuries from car accidents. As a result of the same, about 200,000 hospitalizations occurred in 2012. In fact, Americans spend more than one million days in the hospital each year because of crash injuries. A drunk driving truck accident can cause serious injuries that might require hospital stays, surgeries, and rehabilitation visits. 

Common injuries include:

  • Back and neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Head and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Amputations and other types of disfigurement
  • Burns
  • Internal or crush injuries
  • Broken bones and wrist injuries
  • Death

What types of compensation are available to drunk driving truck accident victims in St. Louis?

Victims of truck accidents in St. Louis can receive both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover actual or monetary expenses. Non-economic damages cover non-monetary harms. These damages are sometimes more challenging to calculate, making it necessary to speak with an attorney who has experience valuing personal injury claims and can ensure you’re asking for fair compensation. 

Drunk driving truck accident victims and their family members might be eligible to receive compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity if unable to return to work
  • Permanent disability and disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death

Who's liable after a drunk driving truck accident in St. Louis?

In Missouri, the drunk driver is ultimately liable for damages and injuries caused in an accident. However, others might share liability, including the trucking company that employed the driver or owner of the commercial vehicle, if not the employer (i.e., contracted drivers who lease their truck). Lastly, third parties, such as those loading, securing, or maintaining the truck, might also have legal liability if their actions or inactions contributed to the injuries.

A personal injury lawyer can review the facts of your case to determine all responsible parties and their percentage of fault. They can also decide if you might be partially to blame for the resulting accident and aim to maximize the compensation you can receive even if you share in the fault. Missouri is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning the court can consider the opposing party’s affirmative defense to your allegations of liability and request for compensation and diminish any resulting compensation award based on your shared responsibility. 

For instance, if the defendant alleges you’re partially at fault because you failed to follow a traffic rule at the same time they operated their vehicle while intoxicated, the court may find that you were 20% negligent in causing the accident. Thereby, if the court awards you $60,000 in damages, it can reduce the amount you receive by that 20%, leaving you to collect $48,000. Likewise, the defendant can collect their total damages minus their 80% shared liability from you. 

It’s important to have a St. Louis personal injury attorney with the knowledge and skills to effectively show how the defendant should be responsible for paying fair and maximum compensation for their illegal and wrong actions of operating a large truck while drunk. Your attorney can prove that the defendant knew the dangers associated with their actions yet proceeded to act recklessly and willfully without regard to others’ safety and should thereby rightfully shoulder the majority of or full accountability for the accident and your injuries. 

How can NST Law's St. Louis drunk driving truck accident attorneys help me?

When you or a family member suffers injury or death in a drunk driving truck accident, the insurance company generally tries to offer a very minimal settlement that fails to cover the full extent of your losses. Having a personal injury attorney on your side to properly evaluate your case, know its worth, and recognize when to accept a settlement or proceed to trial to pursue fair compensation, can help ease you and your family’s financial burdens and concerns following the aftermath of a devastating truck accident so that you can focus on your recovery. 

The lawyers and staff at NST Law act as advocates for their clients, gathering the evidence and resources needed to strengthen each case, negotiating fair settlements, and battling in court to protect the rights of every injured party. We’ve been champions of the injured for more than 32 years and have recovered more than $1.5 billion in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We can ensure you receive the best result possible for your claim.

Our clients thereby become equal advocates for us:

Jillian: “I definitely wouldn’t want to go through an accident again, but I’m very thankful NST was there to help. NST was the best call I could make.”

Roger: “After the accident, I was scared and confused, but when I called NST, they didn’t miss a beat. They streamlined everything and made it easy for me to understand what was happening, even though I was injured at the time and couldn’t help myself. NST took care of every detail, and they had my back throughout the entire process.”

Rivera: “The insurance company was giving me the runaround, and I needed help. I called NST, and they took care of everything. The best things about working with NST are their consistency and their transparency. What you see is what you get. Because of that, I trust them 100 percent. They’re top of the line.”

Wendy: “NST are true professionals. They show compassion for their clients, and they clearly showed that they cared about me and what my needs were. Every step of the way, they had my back. Most definitely, I’m thankful I called NST. They were exceptional.”

NST Law commits to the community in and out of the courtroom. We take pride in our St. Louis location and its residents by helping minority and low-income neighborhoods, promoting diversity, and providing scholarships to deserving students. 

Our firm is a trustworthy and reputable choice that operates on a foundation of six pillars, including:

  • Compassionate care for the victim
  • Accessibility: Communicating with us easy
  • Resourcefulness: Being creative in finding ways to achieve the best outcome
  • Trust and transparency: Earning your trust every day
  • Personalized service: Treating you with respect
  • Maximized pursuit: We have a highly experienced team seeking the maximum compensation for your case

If you’ve suffered injuries in an accident caused by a drunk truck driver, contact NST Law today for a free consultation

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