What Substances Contribute to the Most Trucking Accidents?

September 21, 2021 Truck Accident Blog

The Five Substances Truck Drivers Most Commonly Abuse

A 2020 report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that over 28,000 truck drivers tested positive for illegal drugs. Drug use can become a major problem if a truck driver is ingesting substances close to the start of their driving shift. Being aware of the common types of abused drugs can help you look for signs of substance abuse if you get in an accident.

Marijuana

Since marijuana stays in a person’s system for months after use, it is no surprise that it is the most commonly found substance in drug tests. This drug tends to cause a feeling of euphoria and relaxation. Some people may also experience laughter, increased appetite, altered time perception, anxiety and paranoia. Marijuana greatly impairs a person’s ability to drive. If the driver was high during the accident, their reaction times may be slower.

Marijuana is often used much like alcohol. Truckers do not typically take marijuana to assist with their job. Instead, it is typically used as a method of unwinding. Marijuana usage is much higher in people with high-stress jobs, which may be why it is so common in the trucking industry.

Marijuana is a legal substance in many states, and a drug test only reveals past, not current usage. Therefore, the presence of marijuana alone in a drug test may not be enough for a trucking accident attorney to make a case against the driver. It may be helpful to show that there is reason to believe the driver was using marijuana in the hours leading up to the crash. The proof may include things like the presence of marijuana in the truck cab, witness evidence of the driver using drugs, or the driver’s inability to pass a sobriety test at the scene of the accident.

Cocaine

Cocaine is a very strong stimulant that can be snorted, smoked or injected. As a stimulant, cocaine essentially makes a person feel more awake and energetic. Furthermore, people who use cocaine may feel euphoric, focused or more irritable. When taken in high doses, cocaine can cause health problems like heart disturbances, seizures and stomach cramps. Cocaine often causes a sense of overconfidence that can lead to poor judgment when driving. Furthermore, the physical effects of cocaine can distract a driver, making it hard for him or her to drive appropriately.

There are a few reasons why cocaine is so common in the trucking industry. It is often considered a party drug, and the “work hard, play hard” mentality may encourage this sort of behavior. Furthermore, cocaine helps with fatigue. If a truck driver is pressured to work more hours than they can safely handle, they may feel pressure to use cocaine to boost his or her performance.

Most testing methods can only detect cocaine in a person’s bloodstream for a short time. Therefore, it is important for you and your trucking accident attorney to discuss drug testing options as soon as possible. If the driver was high on cocaine at the time of the crash, the presence of stimulants can initiate some interesting legal arguments. In addition to suing the driver, you may also be able to sue the driver’s company for overworking the driver so much that he or she turned to stimulants.

Methamphetamine

Like many other trucking accident drugs, methamphetamine is a stimulant. Methamphetamines are considered to be one of the most intense stimulants. They give a person a lot of energy, focus and euphoria. Methamphetamines are extremely dangerous. Repeated use can damage the brain, causing a person to experience confusion, violence, poor judgment or paranoia even when not on the drug. Therefore, both people abusing meth and individuals with a long-term substance abuse disorder may make mistakes when driving.

Methamphetamines are commonly abused by truckers because they are so widely available. When a trucker decides to look for a stimulant, they may discover that meth is the cheapest and easiest to obtain. Unfortunately, the highly addictive drug can quickly cause a substance use disorder. If your lawyer uncovers any signs of a meth use disorder, they may be able to cast doubt on the driver’s ability to drive safely.

Amphetamines

Amphetamines are very similar to methamphetamines. However, amphetamines are slightly less addictive, and they are often found in prescription drugs like Adderall. Due to their reputation as a “safer” stimulant, amphetamines are frequently abused by tired truckers who just want to stay awake. This can be a big problem because they are just as likely to cause issues.

Trucker stimulant use can be concerning because this substance often encourages a driver to make poor decisions. Someone may underestimate their speed or overestimate their ability to make a sharp turn. Furthermore, stimulants can only counteract fatigue to a certain point. Eventually, a driver may be awake, but their brain may be too worn out to process appropriately and drive safely.

Keep in mind that amphetamine is a legally prescribed drug, so some drivers may have it in their systems because they have ADHD or other conditions. This is why it is essential for your trucking accident attorney to do extensive research. Counsel can help you determine whether the driver was using amphetamines legally or abusing them. Signs of abuse can include things like lying to obtain a prescription, using more than a recommended dose, or seeming abnormally energetic or irrational right after the accident.

Oxymorphone

Oxymorphone is a somewhat surprising inclusion on the list of most frequently abused drugs because it is neither a stimulant nor a widely available drug. Instead, oxymorphone is a type of prescription opioid. This narcotic is a type of painkiller that can cause a rush of pleasant sensations when abused. People who take oxymorphone tend to exhibit reduced breathing, slow response speed and drowsiness. A person who attempts to drive on oxymorphone is likely to get in an accident because they react slowly or fall asleep while driving.

The increasing popularity of this drug shows that many truckers may be falling victim to the opioid epidemic. For those struggling with pain from long hours in the driver’s seat, opioids can be very tempting. Many truckers also report using them to handle the boredom of their job. Unfortunately, these drugs are highly addictive, so people who take them may begin to take larger doses and engage in unsafe behavior.

Since oxymorphone is a less well-known drug, police officers on the scene may not be aware of its effects. However, it will still frequently show up in drug tests, which are usually ordered as a routine part of any truck accident investigation. It is also important to think back to your accident and consider whether the driver slurred their speech, seemed abnormally relaxed, or had pinpoint pupils. This can potentially help your court case.

If you suspect that substance abuse may have contributed to your trucking accident, you need to seek legal advice. An experienced trucking accident attorney can help you find evidence and explain to the court how the driver’s substance abuse caused the accident. This can allow you to get compensation for repairs, medical bills and other damages. To discuss your case with RAM Law, call our New Brunswick office at (732) 394-1549 or fill out our online contact form.

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