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NTSB finds truck driver was impaired in fatal accident

Many Texas residents are safe drivers, and this attention to safety includes avoiding ingestion of any substances that may impair one's driving ability. Unfortunately, some drivers take to the road after they have been drinking, using illegal drugs or even misusing prescription drugs. Such was the case in a fatal accident involving a pickup truck and a church bus that took place last year.

The crash happened in March 2017 when the truck and the bus were involved in a head-on collision, killing 12 of the 13 senior passengers as well as the driver. According to the Texas Department of Transportation's crash report, the young man driving the pickup admitted he had taken twice his usual dosage of a prescription medication prior to the crash, as well as used his phone to text while driving. Witnesses reported that he had been driving erratically during the 15 minutes preceding the crash. He was subsequently charged with multiple counts of intoxication manslaughter.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently released its report on the accident, which states that the driver tested positive for clonazepam, a prescription drug, as well as Delta-9-THC, a primary ingredient in marijuana. In addition, following the crash, a truck inspection revealed marijuana cigarettes, and several medications, as well as drug paraphernalia. The NTSB chairman noted that law enforcement needs to become better educated about how to recognize impaired driving before a crash happens. They also noted that the lap belts provided in the bus may have been insufficient and recommended lap/shoulder belts be a standard feature in this type of vehicle.

This tragic fatal accident could likely have been prevented if this truck driver had not been under the influence of drugs or other safety measures had been taken. As it stands, 13 families are left to mourn their loss. Although this driver has been charged in a criminal court, these families, and other Texas families in similar circumstances, may consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver or any other parties who may be responsible. A successful litigation could help with recouping monetary losses that inevitably occur during such a time.

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