West Virginia Big Rig Driver Headed to Court for Fatal Crash

A tractor trailer driver from Northumberland, West Virginia is going to court in Dauphin County, WV after she waived her right to a preliminary hearing on 10 charges after an October 2017 crash in Upper Paxton Township that killed a man.

The 44 year old female driver is facing the following charges: homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, tampering with evidence, DUI, possession of a controlled substance, reckless driving, careless driving, disregarding traffic lane, failure to keep right and failure to yield right of way.

The West Virginia State Police reported the woman drove her 2001 Freightliner tractor tailer across the center line and hit a Cadillac SUV head on driven by a 74 year old woman. The impact caused the SUV to spin into the path of another big rig. That impact caused the SUV to hit a utility pole. The driver of the SUV had serious injuries, and a passenger died.

The truck driver had unprescribed narcotics in her truck.

Our View

It goes without saying that any truck driver who takes drugs or drinks before driving their rig should not be on the road. Our hope is that this trucker, if found guilty, will spend many years behind bars.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA requires regular and random drug and alcohol testing for truckers as part of its national safety program. The FMCSA reports these random tests show that approximately 1% of truckers in the US test positive for alcohol. However, a Brazilian university study found a higher rate of 12% for US truck drivers. Why the discrepancy?

It is possible that random alcohol tests will result in a much lower number, as opposed to testing truckers who have been in a crash. Of course, in random tests, it is possible truck drivers may get wind of being tested and some will avoid the tests.

Another problem with random tests is that some truck drivers may job hop. That is, they fail a random alcohol and drug test, are fired and then go to another company without reporting their old job and that they were fired. Some truckers also own their own rigs and work for themselves. They may not report results of random drug and alcohol tests on themselves.

Unfortunately, the holes in the system mean that there are still truckers on the roads who should not be there. Sometimes these truckers get into serious and fatal accidents that hurt other people. Our personal injury attorneys in Virginia have worked on many wrongful death lawsuits involving negligent truckers, and we hope that more is done in the future to keep dangerous truckers off the roads.