Drunk drivers are incredibly dangerous. They’re less able to control their vehicles and more likely to end up in dangerous situations on the road. In fact, almost a third of deaths caused by driving accidents involve drunk drivers. Worse than drunk drivers who are simply trying to get home after a party or a night of drinking, however, are drunk drivers who are on the clock. They aren’t just trying to quickly reach their next destination while intoxicated; rather, they’re driving while intoxicated on the job, where they can be expected to stay on the road for a long period of time.
If you were in an accident with a drunk driver who was on the job at the time of the accident, you may find yourself wondering what’s next. What are your rights? How common are drunk drivers on the job, anyway? From the statistics to the procedure, knowing the details can help you make more effective decisions following an accident with a drunk driver.
Understanding the Statistics
About 12.5 percent of American truck drivers have tested positive for alcohol. Around the world, around 50 percent of drivers admit to drinking alcohol while they’re on the clock. Unfortunately, this means that there are a lot of truck drivers who are regularly consuming alcohol on the job, which can significantly raise their risk of an accident.
Other professions aren’t immune to drinking on the job, either. Every two minutes, someone is injured in a drunk driving crash–and many of those drivers are working in some capacity. Pizza delivery drivers, postal workers, Uber and Lyft drivers, and even simply drivers headed out to make a deposit at the bank or pick up needed supplies for a job can all be guilty of drinking and driving.
What Does Drinking Do to a Driver’s Abilities?
Many drivers, especially those who drive professionally, feel that drinking doesn’t really impair their ability to drive safely. Drinking can cause a number of dangerous symptoms for professional drivers, including:
- Decreased attention span. Drinking can make it difficult to focus on what’s going on around you. Drivers who have been drinking may not be able to focus on the road, or they may be more likely to be distracted by other things happening in the car. This is particularly dangerous in younger, more easily distracted drivers, who are also more likely to indulge excessively in alcohol.
- Slowed response times. When you’re driving, your response times are incredibly important. You need to be able to respond quickly to anything that happens on the road around you. Unfortunately, drunk drivers may lack this critical ability to respond fast, increasing the odds that they’ll be involved in a serious crash.
- Overreaction. In some cases, drunk drivers may have exaggerated reactions to events. Instead of responding appropriately to, for example, a vehicle sliding on wet roads, they may overcompensate, sliding the vehicle into oncoming traffic or even causing an accident. Slamming on the brakes too often and locking them, swerving dangerously, or overcompensating for a turn can all also be incredibly dangerous.
- Decreased coordination. One of the first symptoms that you’re dealing with someone who has overindulged in alcohol is a significant loss of coordination. Drivers who have been drinking might not be swaying on their feet or struggling to simply walk across the room, but unfortunately, they may show more significant loss of coordination, including an inability to keep the vehicle on the road or trouble coordinating all of the movements necessary to successfully drive a vehicle.
How Does a Driver Drinking on the Clock Impact You?
Ultimately, if a driver has been drinking while on the job and is involved in an accident with you, you want to know how it will impact you. Who is responsible for paying for compensation for your injuries if you’re hurt in an accident with a drunk driver? Does the fact that the driver was on the clock change your case? There are several things you should keep in mind.
- If the driver was driving a company car, the company’s insurance will be responsible for damages. The company’s auto insurance policy is designed to cover damages caused by drivers in company vehicles while on the clock, and will pick up those damages accordingly.
- If the driver was driving a personal vehicle, their insurance will be responsible for damages. The driver’s personal insurance policy on their personal vehicle will cover the cost of replacing or repairing your vehicle as well as your personal injury costs.
- If the amount of the damages exceeds the amount of the insurance policy, the company may be liable. In some cases, the damages experienced as a result of the accident, including damage to your vehicle, your physical injuries, and your pain and suffering, as well as time missed at work as a result of your injuries, may be greater than the driver’s insurance policy will cover. If your financial damages exceed the amount the insurance policy will pay, the company may be liable for some of those damages.
- The driver’s company may be responsible for some of the damages you’ve suffered. Did the driver’s company know that they were drinking and driving on the job? Had they received multiple warnings or incidents in the past? If the driver is allowed to continue driving in spite of the company’s knowledge of a drinking problem, or if the driver was required to get behind the wheel in spite of the company’s knowledge that they were intoxicated, the company may bear partial liability for the damages you received in your accident.
If you’re not sure who is liable for damages received in your accident, working with a lawyer is one of the most effective ways to assess liability and ensure that you are compensated appropriately.
Your Drunk Driving Lawyer
If you were in an accident with a drunk Uber or Lyft driver, you may need an attorney to help represent you. Contact Uber Car Accident Law online today or call at (305) 964-8806 to learn more about how we can help navigate the legalities following your accident.