Substance Use and Trucking
There are an estimated 1.9 million semi-trucks travelling America’s roadways every day. Although you cannot tell by looking, many truck drivers may be under the influence of legal or illegal substances for a variety of reasons. Truck drivers who abuse alcohol and drugs are not only putting themselves in danger, but are risking the lives of thousands of other drivers with whom they share the road. Substance use and trucking accidents are strongly correlated. Drivers who cause trucking accidents need to be held accountable for their dangerous behavior.
Common Substances Used by Drivers
Drivers under a tight deadline try to gain an edge over driver fatigue and boredom with natural or man-made substances. In most cases, the substances are legal products like coffee and energy drinks. These stimulants work up to a point, but when taken in excessive quantities may cause additional problems on top of driver fatigue, like jitteriness.
Illegal substance use and abuse is also common, even though there are tight regulations regarding driving with a commercial drivers license. The most common substances found include:
- Prescription stimulants
- Non-prescription stimulants
Many drivers claim that marijuana does not affect them as much as alcohol, but that is not the case. The retarding effects of marijuana can last for up to 24 hours.
Substance Use Statistics
According to a study by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, CSAP, approximately 85 percent of drivers interviewed stated that methamphetamines were easy to obtain. Other substance use and trucking statistics show:
- 12.5 percent of fatal truck accidents involve the use of marijuana
- Approximately 1 percent of truck accidents involve alcohol
- Non-alcohol related traffic stops for reckless driving show 45 percent marijuana use and 25 percent had cocaine
Substance Use Regulations
In addition to laws that govern other folks, truck drivers are continually monitored by federal and state agencies. Some of the rules include the following:
- Pre-employment drug screening
- Random drug testing
- Post-accident testing
- Testing based on reasonable suspicion
Drivers who refuse to be tested can be terminated on the spot. Trucking companies must keep accurate records of all drug tests on hand. In the case of truck accident litigation, the plaintiff’s attorney can obtain access to these files to make their case against the driver, or in some cases against the trucking company itself.
If you were involved in a truck accident in or around Orlando and suspect substance use by the driver, you need legal help. Please contact a Florida truck accident lawyer at Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter to schedule a free consultation. We will work hard to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.