Drug Impairment as a Cause of Commercial Trucking Accidents in Cobb County, GA


March 17, 2014

Trucking accidents pose a unique danger because they disproportionately result in devastating permanent injuries and far too frequently fatalities. Commercial drivers and trucking companies can maximize profits by ignoring anti-fatigue rules (also referred to as "hours of service" rules). These rules limit the number of hours a driver may operate a semi-truck without specified off-duty rest periods. Drivers fighting fatigue sometimes resort to drugs to drive longer hours, while distorting their logbooks to cover-up the violations. Many trucking accidents are caused by drivers who are using drugs, including illicit drugs, prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) medications to drive longer hours.

Many truck drivers use drugs like methamphetamines and similar stimulants to facilitate driving for longer periods. While most people recognize the danger associated with the influence of illicit drugs when operating an 80,000 pound fully loaded tractor-trailer, they underestimate the prevalence of prescription drugs and OTC medications as a cause of trucking accidents.

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs constitute a leading cause of semi-truck collisions.

A report to Congress by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) revealed that prescription drug use was the top "associate factor" in trucking accidents, and that 26.3 percent of trucking accidents involved prescription drug impairment. Over-the-counter drugs also played a major role and contributed to 17 percent of trucking accidents according to a national study of the causes of trucking accidents conducted by the FMCSA.

The rampant use of drugs by drivers of commercial trucks is a function of the struggle to stay alert and to fight of boredom from long hours on the road. The prospect of a commercial driver operating a motor vehicle under the influence of prescription or OTC drugs that impact a driver's judgment, perception, mood or reflexes is concerning under any circumstances, the danger increases exponentially when the vehicle is a fully loaded 80,000 pound tractor-trailer.

Obligation of trucking companies to conduct drug screenings

Many types of drugs may affect a commercial truck driver's ability to operate a truck safely, including stimulants designed to prevent fatigue, psychotropic drugs and pain medications that may impair responsiveness and judgment. Federal law imposes an obligation on commercial carriers to conduct mandatory drug testing, and a trucking company's failure to comply with this requirement can lead to devastating results. Truck drivers often feel compelled to use stimulants to comply with unrealistic schedules for the delivery of their loads.

When a commercial driver causes a tractor-trailer collision because the driver's ability to safely operate a semi-truck is impaired by any type of drug, this negligent driving practice may justify punitive damages. The trucking company may also be subject to punitive damages if it did not conduct proper pre-employment drug screenings or random drug testing as required by law depending on state law and the specific circumstances of your situation.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Experience to Work For Your Case

If you or someone you love has been injured or a loved one has passed away because of injuries inflicted by a negligent big-rig driver, our Atlanta Trucking Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates have the resources and experience to take on large trucking companies. Montlick and Associates has been representing Cobb County tractor-trailer accident victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.