In spite of regulations that mandate truck driver shift hours, many commercial vehicle operators are placed under tremendous pressure to exceed these federally mandated shift limits in order to minimize shipping delays and to maximize operators' profits. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established numerous rules designed to prevent driver fatigue and other hazards on the road. But that doesn’t mean that truck companies don’t have their own deadlines to meet. In order to meet these demands, some truck drivers make the choice to resort to drug use in order to stay awake and alert for those long hours spent on the road.
Amphetamines Are the Most Common Drugs Used by Truckers
The most common type of drug used by truck drivers to stay awake is some form of stimulant. This includes amphetamines; Adderall and Dexedrine are common examples. The reason for using amphetamines is that these medications induce temporary improvements in mental and physical alertness.
Some signs suggest that these drugs are disturbingly accessible and widespread in use among truck drivers. In fact, a survey conducted by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention revealed that 17 out of every 20 truck drivers interviewed found it very easy to obtain methamphetamines at truck stops across the country.
Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) confirms these troubling reports. Surveys and roadside testing have revealed that one in five truck drivers use stimulants on at least some portion of their long-haul trips in order to stay awake. Unfortunately, these drugs can also cause serious psychological side effects, many of which can impair a driver's ability to function safely on the road.
What’s the Problem with Amphetamines?
Common side effects of stimulant abuse include:
- Blurred vision
- Psychosis, with high enough doses
Any one of these side effects could clearly impair a driver's ability to safely operate a large commercial vehicle, particularly when he or she is sharing the road with other drivers.
Know When to Speak with a Truck Accident Attorney
If you were involved in a traffic accident where a truck driver was driving erratically or displayed irrational behavior, drug abuse may have played a contributing role in the crash. Fortunately, certain drugs and narcotics can still be detected in the blood or urine for an extended period after the original use of the substance. This means that there are ways to ascertain what happened in your case.
In truck accident cases where drug use was involved, you may not immediately suspect narcotic abuse as a contributing factor. If, however, an experienced accident attorney is consulted shortly after a crash, he or she can immediately request drug tests for the commercial driver involved in the incident. With drugs like amphetamines, usage can be detected for three days after the last usage and, on occasion, for several days past that window.
Schedule a Free Consultation with the Legal Team at Arnold & Itkin
If a truck driver's drug use resulted in your road accident, and you sustained injuries in the crash, you may be entitled to compensation. Time is of the essence, however, especially in claims where drug use is a suspected cause. For this reason, the attorneys at Arnold & Itkin strongly recommend speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible after being involved in an accident with a truck, so they can gather evidence on your case immediately.
Our firm has extensive experience in these types of cases. Over the years, we have advocated successfully for individuals involved in serious truck accidents. Our truck attorneys work with clients nationwide. Contact our office today—we will be happy to offer you a free consultation to help you determine your legal options.