Federal and state regulations prohibit commercial truck drivers from consuming alcohol when operating big rigs. However, some truckers choose to violate these regulations by drinking and getting behind the wheel, risking the lives of innocent people sharing the road.
A well-known South Brunswick benefactor was killed and his wife severely injured after a Mack truck driven by a drunk driver struck their vehicle from behind on Route 1 at Harrison Street. On March 20 around 10:18 p.m., 67-year-old Charles “Chuck” Inman was driving his Lexus with his wife Pamela, 67, in the passenger seat when the truck rear-ended the vehicle. The Lexus was stopped behind a 2011 BMW in the northbound lane near the intersection at Lower Harrison Street in East Windsor.
Charles Inman was the founder of the annual “Battle Against Hunger” bike ride event that benefits local charities. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his wife was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center, where she was treated for severe injuries. The Mack truck was driven by Lorin Fisher, 65, who registered a blood alcohol content of 0.07 percent in a breath test. Fisher was later charged with death by a vehicle, aggravated assault, reckless driving, failure to observe a red traffic signal, and driving under the influence. Fisher is being held on $300,000 bail in the Mercer County Correction Center.
A Big rig generally requirse every ounce of the operator’s attention and skill to safely drive, even under normal conditions. When truckers travel the road after having even a few drinks, the results can be devastating. Drivers of smaller vehicles have a driving limit of 0.08 percent BAC. Under federal law, truck drivers are considered legally intoxicated if they have a BAC level of at least 0.04 percent. The truck driver who rear-ended Inman’s car had a BAC level of 0.07 percent, almost twice the legal limit for commercial truckers.
With the help of a New Jersey personal injury attorney, the family of Charles Inman can seek compensation for wrongful death, and Pamela Inman may seek damages for injuries through a personal injury claim. When making a civil case arising from a truck accident, the plaintiff can pursue a claim against the negligent truck driver. If the trucker is convicted for the crimes charged against him, it will be much easier for the plaintiff to collect damages from the driver’s insurance.
In serious DWI wrecks, truck drivers often don’t have ssufficient insurance coverage and funds to compensate for the victim’s injuries or wrongful death. In such a case, the plaintiff may pursue a claim against the trucking company that employed the driver using the legal concept of agency-agent relationship. In certain instances, the establishment that served liquor to an obviously intoxicated person may also be held legally liable for injuries caused by the drunk driver under New Jersey’s Dram Shop Act.