A potential disaster was averted on Monday, June 18th, after an alcohol-related tractor-trailer crash resulted in a blocked highway but zero injuries. Upon investigation, the driver was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).
According to the Washington Highway Patrol, the incident occurred Monday morning at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Interstate 5 near Bellingham, Washington. The crash occurred in the northbound lanes of I-5; the tractor-trailer driver lost control of his vehicle and rolled it before coming to a stop across both northbound lanes of I-5. The wreck shut down travel in that direction for over nine hours, with the freeway remaining closed until approximately 3 p.m. The delay led to lines of traffic that stretched for miles until a detour was set up.
State troopers reported receiving a call of an overturned semi on the highway on Monday morning and arrived to discover the 53-foot semi rig on its side. The rig, carrying a load of vegetables, stretched across both lanes and the shoulder on each side of the road. The driver was treated for non-threatening injuries on the scene. Thankfully, no injuries were reported and no other vehicles appear to have been damaged. The truck's cargo did not spill onto the highway.
After assessing the scene, troopers performed a field investigation and determined the semi driver was impaired. The driver was then taken into custody and charged with DUI. Because of his commercial driver's license, the driver will face stiffer potential penalties.
Seattle Commercial License DUI Laws
A driver with a commercial driver's license (CDL) is held to a higher standard than your average driver. Any conviction of an alcohol-related offense can lead to the loss of the driver's CDL. What's more, the blood alcohol concentration threshold for commercial drivers is only .04; for all other drivers, it is .08. The law also bars commercial drivers from having any measurable amount of THC in their system. It's not hard to understand why the law treats a DUI in a commercial vehicle more harshly than in other cases; the enormous size of a tractor-trailer makes the potential damage it can inflict much greater. Under Washington law, a vehicle is considered to be commercial if:
- The vehicle has a gross weight of 11,794 kg or 26,001 pounds.
- The vehicle is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
- The vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials.
- The vehicle is a school bus.
In order to operate any of these types of vehicles legally, a driver must have a CDL.
Finding the Right Seattle DUI Lawyer
If you are a commercial driver that has been charged with a DUI, the stakes are high. A DUI conviction could lead to both jail time as well as the CDL you need to make a living. Luckily, a criminal defense attorney may be able to help. If you have been charged with commercial DUI in the Seattle area, contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi for your free consultation. Steve is a passionate defender of the accused, and he looks forward to discussing your case.