Drug Use Plays Significant Role in Trucking Accidents Throughout Georgia
A fully loaded 80,000 pound trailer-tractor barreling down the highway at over 65 miles per hour is daunting enough, but such an image becomes terrifying when combined with a driver who is under the influence of illegal drugs. Despite the increased need to be especially careful and alert when driving a commercial truck because of reduced maneuverability, braking distance and visibility, drug use still plays a role in many trucking accidents in Georgia and throughout the country.
At one time, alcohol abuse also was a major factor in commercial trucking accidents, but strict monitoring and enforcement has effectively reduced alcohol as a factor to 1-3% of all trucking accidents. However, the use of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine still plays far too great a factor in commercial trucking accidents.
While most truck drivers are well-trained and professional, there is no denying that a problem exists. Some Commercial truck drivers try to justify their use of drugs based on the notion that their drug use will help them be more effective. Many drivers believe that marijuana relaxes them and does not have the negative impact that alcohol has on their driving. In reality, the impact of marijuana on such critical skills as perception, reaction time and focus can last up to 24 hours- which is much longer than the time it takes for alcohol's impact to dissipate. Data from one study by the National Traffic Safety Board showed indicated that 45% of big-rig drivers who are stopped for reckless driving have marijuana in their system and as many as 12.5% of trucking accidents are caused by marijuana use. Cocaine also contributes to many trucking accidents as it has been estimated that 25% of all commercial truck drivers stopped for reckless driving have cocaine in their system.
Truck drivers also frequently abuse methamphetamines because they are under the pressure of unrealistic schedules and trying to increase their endurance on the road. It is estimated that 20% of all truck drivers use methamphetamines as a stimulant to permit them to stay on the road longer and drive farther without resting. These drugs can affect judgment and also tend to impair driving ability. Although the trucking industry has made great strides in recent years to reduce alcohol-related trucking accidents, the use of illegal drugs amongst truck drivers appears to be on the rise.
While strict monitoring and enforcement has been effective in reducing alcohol as a factor in tractor-trailer accidents, such monitoring has not been nearly as effective in reducing drug use amongst truck drivers. An undercover government operation conducted by the Government Accountability Office found that 75% of trucking drug testing sites failed to restrict access to items that could be used to dilute the results of drug testing. The investigators were even able to buy masking agents and mix them with real urine specimens at the drug testing locations. According to the report, the drug testing sites failed to identify a single masking agent used by its undercover investigators.
Given the role drugs play in commercial trucking accidents and the ineffectiveness of current drug testing, it is important that more aggressive steps be taken to reduce drug-related trucking accidents. Truck drivers under the influence of illegal drugs continue to be the cause of significant trucking collisions, resulting in serious injuries and fatalities to those throughout Georgia and across the country. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been representing those injured or killed in trailer-tractor accidents for over 35 years- throughout the Atlanta area, all of Georgia and the Southeast.
Call Montlick & Associates today to see how our Georgia trucking accident attorneys can help. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.