Truck drivers work grueling schedules. They must transport cargo from point A to point B in a specific amount of time, and they must travel through a number of locations to do so. They may have to travel through ice, rain, and snow. They may have to drive on long stretches of boring highways. They drive at all hours of the day and night. Therefore, it is not surprising that some truck drivers turn to illegal drugs to stay awake and remain focused.
Drug use has been a major factor in truck accidents, both those that involve fatalities and those that do not. Most commonly, truck drivers turn to amphetamines, marijuana, and cocaine. In accidents that do not involve drug use, vehicle drivers and passengers are more likely to die. Interestingly, in accidents that involve drug use, the truck drivers are also likely to be killed.
The impact of drugs on driving
Cocaine and methamphetamine, which are stimulants, are popular choices among truck drivers who need to stay awake on their long drives. In fact, in one study, 85 percent of truck drivers commented that methamphetamine was easily obtainable at truck stops.
Methamphetamine and cocaine produce dangerous side effects. These include:
- Shortened attention span
- Aggressive driving
- Feeling disoriented
- A lack of coordination
- Poor reaction time
- Increased risk taking
- Drowsiness (as a driver begins to “crash” after taking the drug)
- Overconfidence in one’s ability to safely drive
Using cocaine and methamphetamine has deadly consequences when a driver gets behind the wheel of a large truck and travels on public roadways.
Marijuana is also a popular choice among truck drivers who use drugs. Marijuana is a depressant, which means that it slows down the messages the brain sends to the rest of the body. When a truck driver smokes marijuana, the following effects may be observed:
- Impairment of judgment
- Reduced reaction time
- A lack of coordination
- Panic attacks
Though marijuana is the most popular illicit drug in the country, using it while driving is clearly dangerous.
After a trucking accident
Unlike accidents involving drunk driving, there is not one single test that determines if a truck driver was using illegal drugs. Law enforcement officers will observe the truck driver’s behavior, and they may have kits available to test for any drugs found in the truck. Later, blood tests may be used to determine if the truck driver was using illegal drugs.
How an attorney can help
Attorneys experienced in trucking accidents represent victims who were injured or killed due to the negligence of truck drivers. They make sure that these victims’ interests are protected throughout the claim.
Contact our truck accident attorneys to discuss your claim
If you or a loved one was involved in a trucking accident, contact the truck accident attorneys at Stein & Shulman today to determine what your legal rights may be. We offer a free consultation, which you may schedule by calling 312-422-0506.