Truck Driver Drug Usage
Drug usage in the United States is one of the top reasons for automobile and truck accidents. Million of Americans use some kind of drug for medicinal purposes. Abuse of controlled substances and drugs is often linked with terrible vehicular accidents and collisions on major streets and highways. Drug abuse is the use of illicit drugs or the abuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are indicated or in a manner or in quantities other than directed. Most common cases of substance abuse involve alcohol-related accidents (DUI or DWI). In one NHTSA study, samples were analyzed qualitatively for alcohol and 43 other drugs.
Alcohol was the most prevalent drug, and was found in 51.5% of the crashes; other drugs were found in 17.8% of the crashes. The study found cannabinoids present in 6.7% of the drivers, cocaine in 5.3%, benzodiazepine in 2.9% and amphetamines in 1.9%. All other drugs combined were found in less than 5.0% of the drivers. Drugs were found in conjunction with alcohol in 11.4% of the cases.
Non-medical purposes included misusing prescription drugs for recreation and for psychic effects–to get high, to have fun, to get a lift, or to calm down, and for relaxing effects. Alcohol, Marijuana, Heroin, Cocaine, Amphetamines are some of the intoxicating controlled substances responsible for truck accidents. For fatally injured drivers, cannabis had the highest percentages testing positive, ranging from 7% to 37% with a mean of 14%. The mean percentages of each of the other five drugs amounted to about 5% or less.
The rules and regulations that govern the usage policy of drugs are very strict. These are applicable even for over-the-counter drugs or medicines. Some drugs or medicines can impair truck driver’s judgment, can make the driver over-react. They also have adverse effect on the reaction time of the driver. All these can cause an accident. Consumption of alcohol has the same effects on the driver’s ability to drive. The law strictly prohibits the truck driver from operating a commercial vehicle in case if the truck driver takes (or need to take) a drug or a medicine that affects the drivers ability to safely operate the vehicle. This regulation includes prescription, illegal or even over-the-counter drugs or medicines.
If you are involved in a trucking accident, contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case with an expert. We have the necessary expertise you need to ascertain the exact cause of the accident and represent your legal interests.