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New Data Shows Too Many Fatal Truck Accidents Involve Alcohol

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released their annual statistics related to alcohol consumption and traffic accidents. One of the arguably most alarming statistics involves professional and commercial truck drivers.

Accidents happen. And, unfortunately, drunk driving accidents happen much more often than they should. While there is no excuse for intoxicated drivers who decide to risk the lives of themselves and others when they take the wheel while over the legal limit, one would hope that would not be the case for professional drivers.

But it is.

When looking at fatal trucking accidents in 2010 (the last full year for which such data has been collected and studied), it appeared that 3 percent of all truck accidents resulting in death involved alcohol.

Now, while 3 percent may sound like a relatively small number, it is still too high - especially given that truck drivers are professionals. They are specially licensed and have strict requirements that they are supposed to follow in conjunction with their commercial licenses and jobs.

In most states, this means that commercial driver's license holders cannot be behind the wheel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .04. Yet according to accident statistics, 2 of the 3 percent had a BAC above .08 (the legal limit for regular drivers), and half of those were above a .15.

According to accident statistics, 10,228 people died in 2010 due to alcohol-related car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and bus accidents. Truck accidents were the smallest percentage, but any deaths due to a drunk truck driver is too many.

Source: The Trucker News Service, "Three percent of fatal truck accidents in 2010 involved alcohol," 8/14/12.

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