Q: What happens when a truck driver causes a collision while on opioids?
Opioids are highly addictive substances typically prescribed to a patient by a physician for pain relief. Unfortunately, the nature of their job makes large truck operators susceptible to opioid addiction, creating a deadly hazard when they drive under the influence.
Truck Driver Opioid Use
Commercial driving jobs often require long shifts that include heavy lifting, repetitive motions, and remaining seated for extended periods of time. Truckers are often injured in the process of loading, unloading, or repairing their vehicles.
Opioids can help these drivers continue to make long hauls despite the pain, but this help often comes at a steep price. Frequently prescribed for severe chronic pain, opiates use can lead to addiction in a matter of weeks. Repeated usage stalls the body’s natural production of endorphins, causing the same dosage to quickly lose its effectiveness. Truckers must then increase the dosage to get the pain relief they need, leading to a dangerous cycle of addiction.
This addiction can turn deadly when drivers climb behind the wheel of their trucks. Opioids may cause extreme drowsiness and fatigue, making truckers who drive under the influence a huge threat to everyone on the road.
Determining Truck Driver Drug Impairment
The United States Department of Transportation requires drug testing of any trucker involved in a collision that results in a fatality or disabling damage to any motor vehicle. Prior to the year 2018, truck drivers were only tested for alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. However, they're now also tested for opioids, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone.
An experienced personal injury attorney can acquire these test results, investigate to determine the level of truck driver impairment, and pursue a claim against the driver and the trucking company. If you were injured by a truck driver who was under the influence of opiates, your attorney can help secure the compensation you deserve. To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.