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Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevalent Among Truckers

Safely operating a large commercial vehicle is a complicated and challenging task, which is why we expect truck drivers to have a clear and sober mind whenever they are on the road. Unfortunately, many commercial truck drivers choose to get behind the wheel while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Whether its heroin, cocaine, marijuana, or prescription drugs, truckers who use and abuse any of these substances can end up causing devastating collisions that result in serious or catastrophic injuries to other motorists and pedestrians.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all truck drivers to pass a drug test before they can get a new commercial driver’s license. Additionally, truck drivers also have to undergo a drug test after any accident involving the following things:

  • Someone suffered a fatal injury.
  • The driver was given a citation for a moving violation related to the accident AND the accident resulted in an injury that required medical attention.
  • Enough damage was caused to a vehicle that a tow truck was required to move it.

Although these substance tests can reveal if a driver was impaired by alcohol or certain drugs, they do not test for all intoxicating substances that a driver might be under the influence of at the time of an accident.

Synthetic Marijuana Use Increasing Among Truck Drivers

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), synthetic marijuana use among commercial drivers has significantly increased in recent years. Depending on which state a truck driver is in, synthetic marijuana can often be purchased legally and is marketed as “safe” for use, even though its effects are more intense than marijuana. However, many users of this particular r substance have noted serious and unpredictable effects, including:

  • Severe mental impairment
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Acute kidney failure

In some cases, people have even died from using synthetic marijuana. Despite the substance being more easily accessible, it can be extremely dangerous if used by commercial drivers.

Recent Studies

After a tragic accident in 2014, the NTSB recommended to the FMCSA that the organization take action regarding the troubling trend of truck drivers who are abusing synthetic drugs while they are on the road. Some of the specific recommendations given by NTSB included:

  • Conducting research on the prevalence and patterns of synthetic drug use in the commercial trucking industry.
  • Creating a proposal to reduce synthetic drug use among commercial truck drivers.
  • Including synthetic drugs in the substances tested for in pre-licensing and post-accident drug testing.
  • Collaborate with industry leaders and advocate groups to help trucking companies find solutions for synthetic drug use among their drivers.

Although it can be quite some time before any formal initiatives are put in place by the FMCSA, those who have been injured by truck drivers under the influence of synthetic marijuana and other drugs are entitled to hold the impaired truck driver accountable for their actions.

Consult with a Truck Accident Lawyer Today

At Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP, we are dedicated to helping clients who have been injured by negligent truck drivers. We have the skills and resources you need to prove the driver of the truck that caused your injury was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Let us get started on your case so that you can secure the compensation you deserve.

Call (800) 900-0863 to schedule your free case review. Don’t hesitate, we’re waiting for your call.