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Transportation industry at risk of impaired drivers

A definite link has been established between alcohol usage and the unsafe driving practices of those in the transportation industry.

Even blood alcohol concentration that is below the cut-off for illegal driving has been shown to impair drivers' skills and cause an increased risk of accidents. More than 100 research studies found that specific skills necessary for driving were adversely affected with even slight alcohol consumption.

For instance, those with .05 BAC showed signs of significant impairment. At .02 and even lower, one's ability to split their attention between more than a single source of visual data may be lowered. At just .05 percent BAC, well below the legal cut-off point, drivers may have:

-- Slower reaction times

-- Erratic eye movements

-- Limited glare resistance

-- Diminished visual perception

As it is a known safety threat, the federal government makes it illegal for commercial truckers and others in the transportation industry to operate any vehicles if they have a BAC of more than .04 percent.

The culture of finding drinking and driving acceptable is slowly changing, which has a positive effect on the risk of alcohol-related crashes with commercial vehicle operators. The threat of losing one's CDL and being forced to secure employment in another field that might not be as lucrative is another deterrent.

Deterrents don't work after the fact, however. If you are recovering from an injury involving an impaired commercial driver, you could be surprised to learn how deep the pockets of potential defendants may be. Filing a claim for damages or civil litigation in Illinois could lead to a settlement that will not only cover your medical bills but could also provide additional money that could be invested or used in other ways.

Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, "Alcohol Alert," accessed Feb. 04, 2016

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