Drugs Impair Truck Drivers
Driving a commercial truck is a tough job, requiring operators to work for long hours many miles away from home. Unfortunately, truckers sometime choose to put themselves and others in danger by taking stimulants and other drugs to make it through their shifts.
Drugs Commonly Used by Truck Drivers
Due to a combination of long hours and the desolation that comes from life alone on the road, truck drivers use drugs to cope. Truckers’ drugs of choice are often:
- Illegal drugs. Amphetamines and cocaine can allow drivers to remain awake for unusually long periods of time. However, side effects of these drugs may include agitation, hypertension, and hallucinations—all of which have the potential to impair driving ability.
- Prescription narcotics. Common side effects of narcotic use include dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, lack of concentration, and reduced stamina. According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), prescription drug use was a factor in 28.7 percent of large truck collisions.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in cough medicine, acts as a hallucinogen when taken in high doses. However, the FMCSA only tests truck drivers for illicit amphetamines and methamphetamines, as well as drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and opiates. The test doesn’t include OTC medications, even though according to the FMCSA study referenced above, OTC drug use was a factor in 19.4 percent of large truck collisions.
The Impact of Drug Use by Truck Drivers
Since the standards for drug testing aren’t as uniform as those for alcohol, some truckers believe they can get away with recreational drug use while driving. Others may be unaware their medications are impacting their driving ability. Drug use can lead to severe truck accidents, causing everything from minor injuries to death.
If you’ve been the victim of a truck accident, you need professional representation by an experienced attorney. To discuss your claim, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.