Drug-Impaired Truck Drivers
Updated: Feb 26
Drug impairment behind the wheel has become an increasingly concerning issue for truckers and those who share their roads with them due to its adverse effects that can lead to severe truck crashes involving fatalities or significant property damage.
Definition of Drug Impairment
It may appear ironic that many truck drivers, who play a vital role in safely transporting goods and services across the country, can be impaired by drugs. However, illegal drug use is still present among some members of this profession, leading to drugged driving.
Drug impairment for truck drivers occurs when either legal or illegal drugs are taken, resulting in an inability to operate the vehicle safely. This impairment can affect reflexes and judgment, severely affecting public safety on our roads and highways.
Drug testing is one-way commercial carriers minimize these risks; however, research shows that many drugged truck drivers continue to evade detection due to a lack of proper screening procedures.
Causes of Drug-Impaired Truck Driving
Studies show that drugged driving is an increasing concern across the United States, especially among truck drivers. In 2018 alone, over 10,000 reported drugged driving cases were related explicitly to large commercial trucks and buses.
This alarming statistic highlights the need for a more comprehensive approach to drugged driving.
Drug impairment can be caused by the drug use of illegal substances, including alcohol, marijuana, opioids, stimulants, and sedatives; all of which have been found present in tests administered on large truck operators.
Furthermore, many states require employers to conduct intermittent drug and alcohol testing on every truck driver as part of their risk management strategies.
Further education regarding the issue needs to be conducted amongst both employers and employees about how dangerous it is to operate a heavy vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Additionally, stricter regulations need to be implemented and enforced to progress toward reducing drug-impaired truck driving incidents to occur.
Statutory Regulations on Drug-Impaired Truck Drivers
In the trucking industry, drugged driving is a serious issue that must be addressed. Both state and federal laws address this problem by imposing strict regulations on truckers and their employers.
In particular, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) statutes define how truck companies should handle instances of potential drug or alcohol use among their employees.
Drug-Impaired Truck Driver Risks
Drug-impaired truck driving is a growing concern for commercial drivers and those who interact with them on the roads. The dangers associated with drug-impaired truckers include an increased risk of truck crashes, negligence from truck driver fatigue or distraction, and improper use of prescription drugs resulting in impaired judgment.
Alcohol-impaired testing has become increasingly common among commercial drivers to detect impairment due to alcohol consumption. Still, limited resources are available to detect if a commercial truck driver is under the influence of other drugs.
The risks posed by drug-impaired truckers need to be addressed through statutory regulations that can help bring awareness and protection against such negligent behavior. Routine drug and alcohol testing is the best way to address drug-impaired driving.
How to Detect Drug-Impaired Truck Drivers
Detecting such impairment requires understanding how drugs affect an individual's driving skills and careful observation by law enforcement personnel.
When it comes to detecting drug-impaired drivers, illicit drugs are typically easier to identify than prescription medications or over-the-counter meds due to the illegal nature of these substances.
After officers observe signs that suggest possible impairment from either type of medication, they must determine whether there is reasonable suspicion for making an arrest or administering further tests.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provides guidelines for assessing driver behavior to facilitate this process. These include signs like physical coordination problems, slowed response times, difficulty concentrating and inappropriate lane changes.
How to Detect Drug-Impaired Truckers
Drug-impaired truckers pose a serious threat to public safety. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, approximately 28 percent of commercial truck drivers have tested positive for illegal drugs or over-the-counter medications that can impair their ability to drive safely.
As such, employers and supervisors need to know how to detect drug-impaired truckers to protect themselves and others on the road.
Reasonable suspicion testing may be used if an employer believes there is cause for concern; this involves providing urine samples that will be analyzed at a laboratory facility.
Federal Regulations and How to Prevent Drug-Impaired Truck Driving
The deadly consequences of drugged truck driving can be compared to a ticking time bomb. Unless stringent measures are taken, the scenario will only worsen with more severe injuries and fatalities caused by commercial truckers operating while under the influence of drugs.
To prevent such instances, federal regulations must come into play to ensure that trucking companies actively monitor their employees for any signs of drug impairment.
Regular screenings should be conducted on all commercial truckers, and random testing should be done to ensure that none is operating unsafely due to impaired vision or slowed reflexes.
Trucking companies must also create strict policies regarding drug use amongst their employees and enforce disciplinary actions if found guilty.
Holding a Negligent Truck Driver Accountable
From the crash scene to the conclusion of a case, accident victims often need legal assistance to ensure that their rights are fully and fairly compensated. Experienced lawyers provide invaluable insight into a truck accident investigation and help those injured seek settlements that will give them the relief they deserve.
The complexity of today's trucking industry necessitates an in-depth knowledge of commercial and personal regulations. It is crucial to investigate whether the driver could safely drive the tractor-trailer before the crash to assess their use of drugs and alcohol. Lawyers involved in such claims should have access to the appropriate resources required for a successful resolution.
Similarly, the insurance company representing the trucking company often has large teams of attorneys employed to look after their interests. It is essential to call on professionals dedicated to fighting on behalf of victims involved in a severe crash.
It is possible for crash victims – no matter how small or immense their damages may be –to receive full and fair compensation. Schedule a free consultation today and get the experienced legal help you need!