A few weeks ago, the driver of an 18-wheeler truck caused a fatal multi/car pileup. An investigation into the cause of the accident revealed that the driver of the truck, was driving drunk. State Troopers stated that a search of the truck driver’s cab turned up a half-full bottle of whisky, a bottle full of various pills. A blood test found methamphetamine, amphetamine, cyclobenzaprine, clonazepam, nordiazepam, and diazepam were in the truck driver’s system, according to the East Idaho News.
This tragic accident is a reminder that some truck drivers do not follow the rules of the road when it comes to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The number of truckers who take to the road after consuming drugs or alcohol may be higher than you think. It is not uncommon for truck drivers to use mind-altering substances in an effort to keep themselves awake for the long haul.
Some truck drivers use alcohol or marijuana before or during their shifts. Both of these substances have been shown to cause drowsiness and decrease drivers’ ability to concentrate, which increases the risk that those drivers will be involved in an accident. Other truck drivers rely on cocaine or amphetamines to stay awake. These substances do keep truckers awake, but they can also cause hallucination, increased response times, vertigo, and agitation, all of which can increase accident risk.
Many truck drivers are tested for some substances like alcohol, marijuana, and amphetamines before they are hired, and also on a regular basis throughout the course of their employment. This may deter some truckers from using drugs or alcohol on the job, but it also means that truckers who are intent on using substances will simply choose to use other substances, like prescription or over the counter medications, which they are not tested for. In fact, prescription and over the counter medications are implicated in many trucking accidents where the driver was at fault.
When truck drivers use prescription or over the counter medications, they often use them in higher doses than they would if they were taking them to treat a health condition. This can result in impaired driving. For example, stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall can cause seizures or heart failure when high doses are ingested. Pain medications like Vicodin and Oxycontin can cause drowsiness, as can drugs which are used to treat anxiety, like Xanax and Valium.
When there is a trucking accident and impaired driving is a possible cause, it is important that accident victims take immediate action to ensure that the truck driver is tested for drugs and alcohol, and that important trucking company business records involving drug and alcohol test results, among other things, are not destroyed. The police may be helpful in getting the driver tested, because of possible criminal charges that they may bring against them, but since trucking accidents are investigated by response teams who represent the trucking company, it is essential that trucking accident victims seek counsel from an experienced attorney so that their rights can be protected.
The Trucking Accident Attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are here to help. Contact Parker Waichman LLP online or by calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529) today to speak with us about your injury accident and the compensation to which you may be entitled.
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