Truck drivers impaired by drugs and alcohol pose danger to Florida drivers
Operating a large commercial truck requires a Commercial Driver's License. It also requires a considerable amount of skill and attention. Operating a large truck is much more difficult than driving a car for these reasons:
- Commercial trucks are much larger and heavier.
- There are more blind spots.
- Maneuvering curves and turns requires more control of speed and steering.
- There are more state and federal regulations imposed on truck drivers.
When truck drivers are under the influence of alcohol, recreational drugs, prescription drugs or certain over-the-counter medications, the skill and judgment required to operate a truck can be significantly impaired.
Common substances that show up in tests
Truck drivers must be drug tested before they begin employment. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) requires that all commercial truck drivers be drug tested at random under Section § 382.305.
The agency released its new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse report, which compiles drug testing data from September 2019 to May 2020. During that time period, 19,849 truck drivers tested positive for at least one substance. Out of those:
- 10,388 tested positive for marijuana
- 3,192 tested positive for cocaine
- 2,184 tested positive for methamphetamine
The truck drivers who tested positive for substances were unable to continue driving until they finished a return-to-duty process. By the time the report was published, there were 15,682 drivers who hadn't yet begun the process.
How do drugs, alcohol and medications affect truck drivers?
Downers, such as alcohol, marijuana, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants and other drugs that cause impairment or drowsiness, can affect truck drivers in the following ways:
- Reduced reaction time
- Impaired judgment and perception
- Loss of self-control
- Loss of muscle control and physical coordination
- Difficulty steering and staying within the lines on the road
Uppers, such as methamphetamine and cocaine, can cause agitation, delusions, and psychoactive effects on the brain that can cause drivers to behave aggressively or recklessly.
Can impaired truck drivers be held accountable?
Large commercial trucks already pose a significant danger on Florida roads due to their sheer size and weight. When drivers fail to uphold their duty of care and trucking companies fail to hire safe and responsible drivers, they can be held accountable.
The Florida truck accident attorneys at Pajcic & Pajcic have seen the devastation negligent and reckless truck drivers cause to other road users. We have represented crash victims and their families in thousands of cases, including:
- $9 million settlement for the family of a logger killed in a logging truck accident
- 8-figure settlement for a quadriplegic after a crash caused by an inattentive truck driver
- $4 million settlement for the family of a driver from a trucker's insurance company even though the trucking company only had a $1 million policy
- $2.4 million settlement for the family of a husband and great uncle who was killed after a large truck rammed into his backhoe
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, contact our law firm to learn about the legal options available to you. Our attorneys offer free and confidential case evaluations to clients across the state of Florida.