Legal Drugs as a Leading Cause of Serious Tractor-Trailer Collisions
Trucking Accident Lawyers Discuss Legal Drugs as a Leading Cause of Serious Tractor-Trailer Collisions
If a tractor-trailer cruises down the roadway at freeway speeds while outweighing passenger vehicles by more than twenty times, the potential consequences of a collision can be devastating. The danger increases exponentially when commercial trucks are operated by a truck driver whose driving ability is impaired by drugs. The danger is not limited to truck drivers that are impaired by unlawful drugs and prescription narcotics but also over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
While many may presume that legal prescription drugs and OTC medications are a minor influence on trucking industry accidents, this assumption is not supported by empirical evidence. A study produced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that OTC drug use constitutes one of the five most common factors in trucking accidents. Based on data from the study, OTC drugs are a factor in 17 percent of all trucking accidents that result in injury or wrongful death.
Although most truck drivers are safe and law-abiding drivers, the monotony of driving a commercial truck seventy hours per week along with the pressure to drive longer imposed by commercial carriers can motivate drivers to take legal or OTC drugs to cope with the pressure and fatigue. When commercial carriers impose unrealistic delivery schedules, the temptation to ingest prescription drugs or OTCs, such as stimulants, to permit the driver to stay awake and drive longer can increase substantially.
Prescription drugs and OTC medications can adversely impact driving in a variety of ways. Some drugs-like stimulants, which are taken to fight truck driver fatigue, may impact perception and responsiveness. Other types of medications, such as antihistamines, may cause drivers to be drowsy. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has indicated that allergy medications are the type of drug that creates the biggest problem because it causes drowsiness, which accentuates the natural fatigue that is an inherent problem for commercial truck drivers.
A commercial truck driver is not supposed to take legal medications that can impair driving ability, and the prescribing doctor must be informed that the patient works as the driver of a commercial truck. Further, commercial carriers are required by regulations to screen truck drivers for drugs before hiring drivers and conducting random drug testing of drivers. When trucking companies look the other way by failing to conduct drug screening as required by law or pushing drivers to comply with unrealistic delivery schedules, the commercial carrier can be liable for the resulting consequences.
Drivers of tractor-trailers are closely monitored for the use of illegal drugs like methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, other illegal drugs, and alcohol but not prescription and over-the-counter medications. This lack of close screening puts all users of Georgia roadways at-risk because OTCs and prescription medications play a factor in so many commercial truck crashes. Many legal drugs of this kind can impair drivers just as substantially as illegal narcotics.
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If you or a loved one has been injured in a car, truck, or any other motor vehicle accident caused by negligence, contact our Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Montlick and Associates. Our firm has over 35 years of experience assisting car, truck, and other accident victims across Georgia and in the Southeast. Contact us to schedule 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.
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