DUI and Pittsburgh Truck Accidents: A Tragic Combination

DUI truck accidents are an all-too-common cause of serious injury in Pittsburgh. A recent tragic example involves a UPS truck driver striking three vehicles on Pittsburgh’s Route 28 Southbound near RIDC Park during rush-hour traffic on Friday, January 4, 2019. Three injured passengers were transported to Allegheny General Hospital, West Penn Hospital, and St. Margaret’s Hospital. Their identities and conditions have not been made public, nor has the identity of the 27-year-old truck driver. However, the suspect faces DUI charges after blood tests confirmed the presence of marijuana and alcohol. An open container was also found in the vehicle during the crash scene investigation.

Statistics for DUIs & Truck Accidents in Pittsburgh

Numbers only tell part of the story, but they indicate there are a troubling number of intoxicated drivers on Pittsburgh/Pennsylvania roads:

  • This summer, Pennsylvania state troopers said they investigated 14% more DUI-related crashes than in 2017.
  • In 2017, there were 364 DUI arrests and 139 DUI crashes in Pittsburgh alone, according to the Philly Voice.
  • Of the 7,262 heavy truck accidents in 2017, 48 drivers (0.7%) were driving impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Over a third of all alcohol-related traffic fatalities occurred in just seven of Pennsylvania’s counties, including Allegheny County. In 2017, Allegheny County led Pennsylvania with DUI-related fatalities with 22, followed by Philadelphia (17), Chester (15), and Bucks (14) counties.

What Causes Pittsburgh Truck Accidents?

Speeding and drinking are found to be the top factors in Pennsylvania vehicle crashes. According to recent data collected by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, more than 31,000 crashes (including 441 fatal) were speed-related and 9,143 (including 160 fatal) were caused by alcohol.

Other common causes of Pennsylvania crashes included:

  • Distracted driving (15,614)
  • Improper turns (14,004)
  • Proceeding without clearance (8,967)
  • Tailgating (6,800)
  • Illegal passing (4,793)
  • Drowsy driving (2,591)

With heavy trucks, many equipment-related failures are cited as primary causes, including:

  • Tire/wheels (102)
  • Brakes (70)
  • Power Train (24)
  • Trailer Loading (24)
  • Steering Failure (20)
  • Suspension (11)
  • Trailer Hitch (10)
  • Lighting (6)
  • Exhaust (3)

A national study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that driver behavior and environmental conditions cause many truck crashes. Speeding and distraction/inattention were common truck driver causes of accidents. In some cases, truck drivers can be held liable for failure to take proper precautions driving in fog, rain, snow, or ice.

Hurt in a Truck Accident? Contact Chaffin Luhana

Filing a personal injury lawsuit is the best way to cover your medical bills, ongoing rehabilitation, lost wages, and emotional hardship. In the worst cases, compensation can provide resources for funeral and burial of a loved one.

Whether your trucking accident involved the driver being under the influence, speeding, or auto manufacturer defect, our team brings in-depth knowledge of all Pennsylvania laws pertaining to car and truck accidents. Our winning track record has earned recognition from Super Lawyers, the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and the National Law Journal.

Though many of our cases end early with settlements, we are experienced trial attorneys who are ready to take your lawsuit all the way to a judge and jury if necessary. Contact us today for a free consultation. There are no fees unless we’re able to obtain a recovery for you.


  1. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – UPS Driver Charged with DUI and Drugs, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2019/01/05/UPS-driver-charged-with-DUI-drugs-after-Route-28-crash-marijuana-open-container-o-hara/stories/201901050046
  2. CBS Local – Route 28 Crash, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/01/05/route-28-ridc-exit-crash-ohara-township/
  3. Philly Voice – DUI Related Arrests and Crashes Spiked in PA Last Year, https://www.phillyvoice.com/dui-related-arrests-and-crashes-investigated-state-police-spiked-pa-last-year/
  4. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation – 2017 Report, https://www.penndot.gov/TravelInPA/Safety/Documents/2017_CFB_linked.pdf