Don’t Let Sleeping Drunks Lie

As a trucker, you help save countless lives each day. You slow down to let cell-phone-obsessed four-wheelers merge safely, move over to give cyclists plenty of room and wave little old ladies through intersections. But there is one safety precaution I bet you fail to take: checking under your trailer for passed-out drunks.

Never thought of making this part of your daily routine? Tell that to Josephine Bailey of Hometown, W. Va. According to the Charleston Daily Mail, her son Dustin, 22, died when he was run over by the tractor-trailer under which he had passed out. Despite the fact that Dustin’s blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit and he had other drugs in his system, Mrs. Bailey blames trucker Samuel T.

Stinson of Louisville, Ky., for her son’s untimely death.

Stinson was delivering supplies to Papa John’s Pizza in Teays Valley, W. Va. Since the restaurant’s parking lot was full, Stinson pulled up to the curb, got out, leaving his truck idling, and went inside to ask employees to move their cars. He then returned to his truck, got in and pulled into the lot.

Unbeknownst to Stinson, when he pulled ahead he ran over Dustin Bailey. In addition to Stinson, Mrs. Bailey is suing the owner of Rick’s Pub (where Bailey had been drinking), the company Stinson drives for and Papa John’s corporate owner, all for failing to take steps to keep her son alive. She wants $350,000.

Specifically, the suit says Stinson could have prevented Bailey’s death if he had:

1. Looked under his truck before pulling into the lot

2. Kept his truck away from Rick’s Pub

3. Turned his truck off when it was stopped in the street

There is no law that says truckers must do any of these things. There should, however, be a law that requires people to take responsibility for their own lives – or deaths – as the case may be.

Although our hearts go out to Mrs. Bailey on the loss of her son, this lawsuit is frivolous, at best. At worst, such cases have a huge impact on all of us. Everyone’s insurance premiums will increase – yours, mine and, ironically, even Mrs. Bailey’s. Ultimately, we’ll all pay more for Papa John’s pizza. And, when this case settles out of court – as it most likely will – it will reinforce every opportunist’s belief: Life’s tragedies are just God’s way of telling us we deserve a major cash infusion.

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