New Hampshire’s 2021 Law Ramps Up Penalties for Truck Drivers Who Get DWIs
A new law, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2021, has ramped up penalties for commercial truck drivers who get caught driving while impaired (DWI). The new law in New Hampshire requires commercial truck drivers who get DWIs to face jail time.
What is New Hampshire’s 2021 law for drunk truck drivers?
According to Concord Monitor, any operator of a commercial vehicle that weighs at least 10,001 pounds will be charged with an aggravated DWI for driving under the influence of alcohol. To be charged with an aggravated DWI, the trucker’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) must be at .08% or higher.
For most other drivers in New Hampshire, being caught driving with a BAC of at least .08% results in a simple DWI charge, a class B misdemeanor. A driver can be charged with an aggravated DWI if they:
- Are traveling over 30 mph over the speed limit;
- Have caused a car accident resulting in serious bodily injury;
- Have attempted to elude a pursuing officer; or
- Had a passenger under the age of 16 while operating the vehicle.
Under NH RSA § 265-A:18, an aggravated DWI charge is classified as a either Class A misdemeanor in New Hampshire or a Felony. At the Class A misdemeanor level, charge carries a fine of $750 or more and a mandatory minimum of 17 days in the county correctional facility.
Under the 2021 law, simply operating a commercial truck over the weight limit under the influence of alcohol can result in an aggravated DWI charge in New Hampshire.
Signs of a drunk truck driver
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident with a truck can lead to catastrophic injuries, which is why you should do your best to prevent such crashes in the first place. We have prepared a list of the most common signs indicating that a truck driver might be under the influence of alcohol:
- Swerving or weaving. Driving while impaired makes it difficult for the motorist to focus on the road, which is why drunk drivers have a hard time keeping their vehicle straight.
- Slowing down and speeding up. If you notice any speed inconsistencies, it might be a sign that the truck driver is drunk.
- Disregarding traffic lights and stop signs. As mentioned earlier, drunk motorists cannot fully concentrate on the road, which is why they are more likely to ignore traffic lights, stop signs, and violate other traffic rules.
- Erratic braking. An impaired motorist has slower reaction times, which is why they are more likely to brake repeatedly or erratically or stop without cause.
Seeking compensation in a drunk driving accident
If you were involved in a truck accident caused by a drunk motorist, you must demonstrate proof that the other driver was negligent in order to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. Under NH RSA § 507:7-d, New Hampshire is a modified comparative negligence state, which means you can recover damages even if you were partially responsible for the accident unless your fault was greater than that of the defendant.
Schedule a consultation with a Manchester truck accident lawyer at the Law Office of Manning Zimmerman & Oliveira PLLC to help you receive compensation for your damages in a truck crash. Call at 603-624-7200 to discuss your case.