By Ken Apicella
Truck drivers often experience difficult working conditions, such as long hours or strenuous physical demands. These conditions can lead to a temptation to abuse alcohol and other drugs while driving, which increases the likelihood of traffic accidents, endangering both themselves and others on the road.
Drug Use among Truck Drivers
A new study examined the prevalence of substance abuse in the worldwide trucking industry. The study used both self-reported surveys and data from drug tests to try to get the clearest picture possible. The results showed a disconcerting amount truckers using mind-altering substances on the job. One of the sets of tests that the study examined showed a high rate of alcohol use among American truck drivers, showing that approximately one in every eight tests came back positive for alcohol.
The study also examined illegal drug use, most particularly marijuana, amphetamines, and cocaine. The study brought together survey data across the world that showed that 3 percent of truck drivers admit to using cocaine, 20 percent admit to using marijuana, and as many as 30 percent worldwide to using amphetamines while driving.
These drugs all cause different effects, and consequently are dangerous for different reasons. Some substances, like alcohol and marijuana, sedate users, causing drowsiness and decreased alertness. Conversely, drugs like cocaine and amphetamines are stimulants. While truckers often use them to stay awake on long trips, they can also alter reaction times and cause hallucinations.
Drivers can take several steps to protect themselves, including maintaining an increased awareness of trucks on the road, and making proper signals when changing lanes or performing other maneuvers.
No one can truly ensure that they stay completely safe on the road. In the event that a driver does get injured in a trucking accident, they can benefit from the counsel and experience of an attorney who can help them recover both the medical and emotional costs of the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, contact an Arlington Heights personal injury attorney today. We serve many northwest suburban areas including Crystal Lake, Chicago, Barrington, and other nearby communities.