Driver Impairment in Trucking Accidents: A Dangerous Combination
Unfortunately, the abuse of alcohol and hard drugs has been a prevalent issue in the trucking industry for many years. The long, solitary hours and the pressure to log as many miles as possible leads many drivers to abuse amphetamines, opioids, and other substances in order to stay awake and pass the time. Most trucking companies only conduct sparse urine analysis drug tests, which are much easier to circumvent than other methods.
The Risks of Impaired Driving
This can be a detriment to the personal health of the driver, but more importantly, it can prove to be an irresponsible danger for the other drivers and pedestrians on the roads. Some trucks may tow loads in excess of 50,000 pounds– that’s a lot of weight to handle while sober, let alone impaired.
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In a study from 2013 which surveyed drivers about their habits, a staggering 30 percent of participants admitted to taking amphetamines. When drivers are under the influence of these drugs, they are much more likely to drive at faster speeds, make unsafe mergers and lane changes, and feel overconfident in the face of adverse weather.
The Las Vegas community was tragically reminded of these dangers in December of last year, when a truck driver from Arizona barrelled into a group of cyclists along a stretch of Highway 95 between Boulder City and Searchlight. Five of the cyclists were killed, and four more were seriously injured. Post-crash drug tests revealed that the driver had over nine times the legal limit for amphetamines in his system.
When dealing with a case of driver impairment, it is crucial to begin investigations as soon as possible– the first 48 hours following a trucking accident are critical for investigating and preserving evidence. A more expansive checklist on what to do following a trucking accident can be found here.
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The consequences of causing a trucking accident while impaired are massive. Not only are the physical injuries of the victims usually much more severe, but drivers and their employers also make themselves vulnerable to paying punitive damages, which exceed simple compensation and are intended to punish the defendant for excessively outrageous conduct.
Las Vegas drivers, especially those traveling on remote stretches of highway surrounding our community, should always be vigilant when navigating around commercial trucks. Be sure to distance yourself from any driver who appears to be operating under the influence, and report any dangerous behavior to local authorities. Residents should also feel confident knowing that, should anything happen, they have exceptional legal help behind them.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident and suspect that driver impairment played a role, be sure to first consult with a medical professional to address any injuries or concerns. Then contact the experienced staff of trucking accident attorneys at Van Law Firm. Our lawyers will help get you any compensation you may be eligible for, including :
- Medical reimbursement, including prescription costs
- Loss of wages and damage to future earnings
- Property damage
Don’t hesitate– call (725) 900-9000 today for a free consultation.
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