Impact of Opioid Abuse on Commercial Truck Driving CrashesIf it is not already intimidating enough to drive alongside an 18-wheeler commercial truck on the highway, just image that the driver of that 90,000-pound vehicle is impaired by drugs? The findings of a study originally published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine on the common use of booze and drugs among truck drivers was described as a, “cause for concern” both for the risk to the drivers’ health, but also because of the risk to road safety.

The data revealed that the substances most used by truck drivers while on the road were alcohol, amphetamines, cannabis and cocaine. These drugs can dull reaction time, ward off fatigue and boost concentration, but the down side is that the stimulants empower drivers to take dangerous risks on the road. These drugs are also linked to an increased risk of causing the drivers to fall asleep at the wheel.

Another study published in, Forensic science international, “Examining the impact of opioid analgesics on crash responsibility in truck drivers involved in fatal crashes,” reported that the prevalence of OA use among CMV drivers of large trucks involved in fatal crashes did not exceed 0.46% for any year in the study period (1993-2008). Middle-aged male drivers had greater odds of committing unsafe driver actions, and the presence of OAs is associated with greater odds of committing an unsafe driver action. The study was published in 2014, and calls on further research to address the limitations of the study.

A study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Schedule II Opioids and Stimulants & CMV Crash Risk and Driver Performance, reports that truck drivers have a fatal work injury rate of 22.1 per 100,000 workers, which is the eighth highest in the country. Large commercial trucks were involved in 3,568 fatal crashes that killed 4,108 people in 2011 and cost the U.S. economy $39 billion. The research study found that there is moderate evidence to support the contention that the illicit use of opioids increases the risk of motor vehicle crash and that the use of opioids negatively impacts indirect measures of driver performance.

Truck drivers are already subject to drug screening, however, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed a new rule that would include the addition of four opioids to the current panel of drugs that the federal agency uses to screen truck drivers. The four opioids that are proposed to be added include: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone.

All these studies state the obvious that truck drivers who are taking opioid analgesics to get through their grueling work days are putting themselves and the other drivers with whom they share the road at increased risk for tragic crashes that cause devastating injury and death.

Occupants of other vehicles who suffer injuries in collisions caused by impaired truck drivers may be able to take legal action against the driver, the company that employs the driver and others who may be at fault. An experienced Chicago truck accident attorney from Gainsberg Law will protect your right to recover compensation for your injuries.

Knowing that the truck driver that caused the crash that injured you was under the influence of opioids can be frustrating. Having the services of the experienced Chicago truck accident attorneys from Gainsberg Law, P.C., by your side should give you confidence that you are in capable hands. We hold all responsible parties accountable and we fight for significant recoveries for our clients. For help today, you are welcome to call 312-313-1621 to make an appointment or fill out our contact form