Commercial truck drivers are held to the same standards as individuals who drive regular passenger vehicles. They’re also expected to abide by regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), as are other entities within the trucking industry, such as owners and fleet companies. So while it only makes sense that it’s illegal for truck operators to use various substances while driving—unfortunately, some still choose to do it, which frequently results in dangerous consequences.
The experienced truck accident attorneys at Peterson & Associates, P.C. in Kansas City provide this insight into substance abuse in the trucking industry, and what recourse you or a loved one may have if you suffer serious injuries after a driver-impaired collision.
A Closer Look at Substance Abuse in the Trucking Industry
Although the FMCSA requires pre-employment drug testing of CDL drivers, there are also random drug tests throughout the year. Nevertheless, various statistics indicate:
- Approximately 30 percent of commercial truck operators admitted to using amphetamines.
- An average of 20 percent of drivers reported using marijuana, while three percent admitted to using cocaine.
- Others confessed to drinking and driving.
These are big issues in the trucking industry due to the effects that substances can have on the human body including, but not limited to:
- Distorting a large truck operator’s ability to make decisions
- Reducing their reflexes and reaction times
- Impairing vision and motor skills
Injuries Caused by Truck Drivers Under the Influence
Big rig, semi-trailer, tractor-trailer, large truck, tanker: no matter what the machine is called, there’s a massive amount of weight behind it. On average, a fully-loaded truck weighs 80,000 pounds, and it takes considerable stopping time—about the length of two football fields—to avoid a devastating collision.
Large truck accidents caused by an operator under the influence of illicit substances cause considerable damage, such as:
Emotional, financial, and physical recovery is substantial, and some injuries require life-long attention. Not only should a victim of such a tragedy be able to take action for compensation against a negligent truck driver under the influence, but also the fleet company or another employer if an attorney proves FMCSA regulations weren’t followed properly. A savvy legal team with expertise handling these cases knows the regulations truck drivers must abide by and the laws concerning the trucking industry, and should fight for the justice you deserve.