Are Drugs a Factor in Illinois Truck Accidents?

Truck accidents involving 18-wheelers and other big rigs are often deadly. A standard motor vehicle is no match for these large trucks, which may weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Truck drivers work grueling hours and are pressured to make their deliveries on time. Some truck drivers, in a desperate attempt to stay awake and work, have turned to drugs to make their deadlines. When these truck drivers cause accidents, they should be held responsible for the injuries that result.

According to statistics, 1 out of every 8 traffic accident fatalities occurs in a truck accident. Additionally, there are around 500,000 truck accidents every year in the United States, 5,000 of which result in a death. In the majority of these fatal accidents, motor vehicle drivers and their passengers are killed—not the truck driver.

Some experts estimate that there are more than 200,000 truck drivers with substance abuse problems on the road. In 2013, the global average amphetamine use rate in truck drivers was 8 percent. However, some posit that the number may actually be higher. Some truck drivers disappear after they cause an accident, and others know how to cheat drug tests. Some companies have even hired truck drivers without performing a drug test or background check.

Truck drivers are required to take drug tests randomly. In fact, trucking companies are required by law to randomly test 10 percent of their truckers every year.  Still, substance abuse remains a problem. The United States Department of Transportation launched a study into the causes of truck accidents. The study concluded that 37 percent of truck accidents were caused by some type of alcohol or drug abuse. Specifically, 26 percent of the accidents were caused by prescription drug abuse, 17 percent were caused by over-the-counter drug use, 8 percent were caused by alcohol, and 3 percent were caused by illegal drugs. That’s a frightening statistic.

It is important to drive defensively when sharing the road with large trucks. Although truck drivers are responsible for many truck accidents, many motorists cause accidents with these large trucks as well. Allowing plenty of space in between your vehicle and the truck, signaling before changing lanes, and ensuring that you are not in a truck driver’s blind spot are all good practices on the road.

If a truck driver is responsible for an accident, that truck driver may be responsible for damages. Additionally, the company that employed the driver may also face liability. If it can be shown that the trucking company failed to complete background checks or should not have allowed the trucker to drive, there are strong arguments that the trucking company should face liability as well.

It is important to hire experienced accident attorneys after a truck accident.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact Chicago firm Stein & Shulman today 

At Stein & Shulman, LLC our attorneys are experienced in truck accident claims. To schedule your free consultation with our team, call 312.422.0500.