The country depends on long distance truck drivers to get many different items from point A to point B. Everything from food to cars depends on these long distance truck drivers. Our roads are filled with these trucks that are getting goods across the country, but unfortunately many of these truck drivers are under the influence of drugs while they are driving. This presents a major hazard to everyone on the road. Every year people are impacted by truck drivers who have consumed drugs while on the job. In the year 2010 alone 80,000 people were harmed in crashes with large trucks. On top of those 80,000 people almost 3,700 people died in crashes. While we currently do not know how many of those crashes involved truck drivers who were under the influence of drugs, there is significant evidence that drugs have a debilitating effect on one’s ability to drive. However, in a national survey taken on highway truck drivers, drugs were present 7 times more as frequently as alcohol among weekend nighttime drivers in the U.S., with 16% testing positive for drugs, read the report here.
The impact that alcohol has on your ability to drive is well known. Everyone seems to be well aware that drinking will decrease your reaction time. It is less well known that other types of drugs have an impact on your ability to drive. Hallucinogens can have a major impact on your judgment. Stimulants such as speed and meth can keep you going, but they often have damaging impacts on the body and can lead to unnecessary mistakes. In a large truck a single mistake can lead to a deadly crash, so it is critical for truck drivers not to take drugs into their body before getting on the road.
While we know that taking drugs can have a debilitating impact on your ability to drive, truck drivers continue to abuse drugs and alcohol. There have been several surveys conducted to discover which drugs truck drivers are using most regularly. A recent study found that the most commonly abused drug for truck drivers is alcohol. This is a troubling sign because even the lightest amount of alcohol can impair a driver’s ability to react in a timely manner. Drivers are also prone to abuse stimulants. Stimulants are extremely helpful for truck drivers because it allows them to stay on the road longer. Most drivers get paid based on their mileage, so the more miles they can drive in a day the more money they can make. With stimulants many drivers are able to stay on the road longer and thus make more money. Younger drivers just starting out do not realize their limitations. Obviously there are great incentives for drivers to use drugs, but drugs can lead to deadly accidents for these drivers.
More Intervention Is Necessary
Drug abuse is a common problem among truck drivers, read our previous post about driver negligence here. While it is against the law for truck drivers to use drugs and then drive, it is still too common that truck drivers will use drugs and drive. Until the government intervenes and regulates the actions of truck drivers further, truck drivers that are under the influence of drugs will continue to be a danger to everyone on the road.