Truckers and Drugs- A Deadly Combo

Big rig truckers who drink alcohol or use illegal drugs before getting behind the wheel are a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. When an accident does occur, it is generally catastrophic for the other vehicle(s) involved. Most semi-truck drivers do not wish to endanger themselves or others, and refrain from using alcohol and drugs before driving. But there are many drivers that do take drugs, often stimulants like speed, to stay alert on a long drive. Now, a growing problem among truckers is the use of legal prescription drugs. Trucking companies generally do not test for prescription drugs, yet transportation safety experts say that drugs like Vicodin slow reaction times and increase the chances of an accident.

Prescription painkillers are highly addictive, and quite often over-prescribed. Many pill addicts start out the same way: they are injured in some way, their doctor prescribes a strong painkiller, and then before they know it, they are taking way more than the recommended dose. Truckers are no exception, yet, behind the wheel of a massive 18-wheeler, an addict’s actions can have disastrous results.

Some truckers have a legitimate need for prescription painkillers or muscle relaxers, and make an effort to take them in a safe way, so as not to interfere with their driving. But addicts may get to the point where they are taking too many pills or their doctor no longer will prescribe the pills, so the person is now taking a “legal” drug in an illegal way.

Truck drivers are subject to random drug testing. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires employers to randomly test CDL drivers throughout the year, and anytime a driver appears to be impaired. But, again, these tests are for illegal drugs, not prescription drugs. Some medical experts and safety officials are pushing for tighter laws on prescription drug use behind the wheel, as are victims and the families of victims that have been affected by a collision with an impaired truck driver.

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an accident involving a semi-truck in the Fort Worth or San Antonio areas, contact an aggressive personal injury attorney today.

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