The Virginia State Police reported March 2 that a bus from West Georgia Technical College was going north on I-81 in Virginia when the bus drifted into the right lane and side swiped a big rig.
The bus next ran off the left side of the road, over corrected, and ran off the road another time before it hit a ditch and flipped over. All 13 passengers on the bus had non life threatening injuries and were taken to local hospitals.
The 59 year old bus driver was arrested and charged with DUI while under the influence of drugs and possession of marijuana. Police also are looking to see if fatigue was involved in the crash.
As truck and bus crash attorneys in Virginia, we have seen many cases where drunk or drugged driving led to serious or fatal accidents. According to the FMCSA, it is extremely important for truck and bus drivers with a commercial driver’s license to get enough rest before they drive.
Obviously, they should not drink or take illegal drugs before driving as well. But a common problem is drivers taking prescription drugs that cause drowsiness before they drive. Most medications that cause drowsiness are labeled that you should not drive or use heavy machinery when using them. Some of the most common drugs that can cause drowsiness are sleeping pills, allergy medications, cold medicines and tranquilizers such as Xanax and Valium.
Our truck accident attorneys represented a family a few years ago whose truck driver loved one was killed when another truck sideswiped him on a Virginia interstate. That driver did not fall asleep behind the wheel; rather, it appeared that he had a medical emergency that caused him to black out. Our client was on the side of the road checking his rig when he was hit by the other truck that ran off the road.
What complicated this case was the fact that the other truck driver died not long after the crash. The defense tried to argue that the trucker and the company did not know about the medical problem that contributed to the crash. Our truck accident attorney obtained the at fault truck driver’s medical records, and established with our own medical doctor that the truck driver knew or should have known that his pre existing medical condition could interfere with his ability to drive a truck. That case resulted in a $2.25 million settlement that was used to care for the dependents of the deceased.