New Jersey Truck Crash Victim’s Family Awarded $5 Million Settlement

The family of a Freehold, New Jersey woman who died in 2014 when a truck driver under the influence of drugs hit her car has received a $5 million wrongful death settlement. 

The 50 year old woman was waiting at a red light on Route 9 in Old Bridge, New Jersey on March 31, 2014 when the tractor trailer rear ended her Honda at high speed. The car burst into flames and the woman died in the fire.


The 52 year old truck driver pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in 2015. The woman’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the trucking company that employed the truck driver. The case was settled during mediation for $5,040,910. The name of the trucking company was not named as a condition of the wrongful death settlement.

The truck driver was found to be under the influence of methadone and Xanax. Video at the crash scene showed that the driver did not brake when he approached the red light.

The family of the deceased is seeking a new law that would require regular methadone testing for truck drivers on US interstates.

Our View

The Insurance Journal estimates that between 1-10% of truck drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol on any given day. The American Trucking Association thinks that the positive rate for big rig drivers tested for illegal drugs is 2-2.5%. The NHTSA thinks that the number is a bit more than one percent. The big problem is that no one knows for sure exactly how many truckers are under the influence. But it is clearly too many because fatal truck crashes with truckers under the influence happen almost every day in America.

Although trucking companies are required to do urine tests for pot, opiates, cocaine, amphetamines and PCP, these drug tests are not fool proof. There are approximately 10,000 drug testing facilities in the US and the US General Accountability Office has found that many of the facilities are not secure from substances that may be used to dilute or alter urine specimens.

Our Virginia wrongful death attorneys would like to see stricter drug and alcohol testing for truck drivers because these deadly truck crashes happen too often. Our personal injury law firm has handled many wrongful death truck crashes in the last decade, such as one where a commercial truck driver in Virginia rear ended our client on I-64, killing him instantly. That wrongful death settlement was for $3.5 million, but we would like to see far fewer of these deadly tractor trailer crashes.