Drug, alcohol use: A troubling issue in the trucking industry

The use of certain chemicals can dramatically affect a person’s ability to operate heavy machinery. We see these warnings on everything from cough medicine to alcohol; even if we don’t see a warning, people still generally understand that they should avoid things like driving if they are under the influence of certain substances.

Unfortunately, this does not stop people from driving after drinking or taking drugs. In fact, some drivers use alcohol or drugs believing that it will either not affect their ability to operate a vehicle or it will somehow improve it. This can certainly be the case when it comes to the trucking industry.

The physical, mental and emotional demands of being a truck driver are considerable; that should not be overlooked. Truckers work long hours by themselves, driving for long stretches of time. Not surprisingly, many find it a challenge to stay focused and engaged every minute they are behind the wheel.

However, some truckers actually rely on drugs and/or alcohol to help them cope with the demands of their job. Some may drink out of boredom or loneliness while others may use cocaine or amphetamines to keep themselves awake so they can drive for longer. Regardless of why people drink or use drugs before or while driving, they are making a life-threatening decision.

As noted in this Reuters article that discusses the worldwide problem of drug use in the trucking industry, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol dramatically affects a person’s ability to drive safely. Drivers may hallucinate, make reckless decisions, experience slowed reaction times and even feel a change in perception.

Considering how dangerous, illegal and irresponsible it is to operate an 80,000-pound vehicle while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, it can be crucial that parties who do this are held liable for the damage done in the event of a crash. If you have recently been in an accident with a commercial vehicle, drug and alcohol testing can be crucial. If these tests come back positive, you may have grounds to pursue a legal claim and compensation.