Truck Drivers and Drug Abuse

July 22, 2012

The FMCSA declares, “No driver shall be on duty and possess, be under the influence of, or use, any of the following drugs or other substances: (1) amphetamine or any formulation thereof (including, but not limited, to “pep pills,” and “bennies”);(2) A narcotic drug or any derivative thereof; or (3) Any other substance, to a degree which renders the driver incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle.” Despite these strict regulations, it is not uncommon for commercial truck drivers to rely on certain drugs to stay alert during their long and often lonely shifts. This behavior continues regardless of federally mandated random drug testing and the regulation of shift hours. Many commercial vehicle drivers feel pressure to exceed their shift limits in order to minimize shipping delays and maximize profits. In order to stay alert while driving dangerously long hours they engage in illegal activity such as drug use. Common drugs used by truck drivers include stimulants and amphetamines like cocaine, Adderall and Dexedrine. A disturbing survey conducted by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention reveals that 17 out of every 20 truck drivers interviewed say that it is very easy to obtain methamphetamines at truck stops across the nation. The National Institute on Drug Abuse confirms Data from these reports. Surveys and road side testing has also revealed that one in five drivers admit to using stimulants on at least some of their long-haul trips. Methamphetamines and other stimulants can lead to serious psychological side effects including dizziness, anxiety, irritability, blurred vision, aggression, paranoia. In extreme cases it may also cause hallucinations and psychosis. It goes without saying that these malignant effects may endanger the driver and the lives of those with whom he shares the road. If you have been involved in a truck accident with an operator who was driving erratically or displaying odd behavior, drug abuse may have played a contributing factor in the crash. A Fox News segment reports that many truck drivers flee the scene to avoid taking the mandatory post-accident drug test. This is why it is imperative to hire a truck accident attorney immediately to start building your case.