Truck Driver Drug Use & Kansas City Truck Accidents
Truck drivers have demanding jobs. Driving a semi-truck requires long hours alone in the small confined area of their cab. Truck drivers must sit in the same area in the same position while traveling along the same, monotonous interstates for long hours. Statistics show that drowsy driving for truck drivers is an increasing epidemic.
Semi-truck drivers are compensated by the mile - not by the hour - and there are strict limits on how many hours a day they can drive before they are required to take a rest. Life on the road can be a lonely yet also stressful existence that can easily wear a driver down.
Unfortunately, a recent study confirms that many truckers turn to drugs and stimulants to help them cope with the demands of their job. Such substances include amphetamines, cocaine, cannabis, caffeine pills or prescription drugs.
Truck drivers may take stimulants to reduce drowsy driving, improve their reaction time and attention when driving. Despite the strict federal regulations on how many miles a driver can log before being required to take a break, many truckers use stimulants to take on extra shifts for the overtime pay.
This is illegal because it violates federal "Hours of Service" regulations, but it is also unsafe. When truck drivers push themselves beyond their normal physical limits, these drivers place their own lives and the lives of others at risk.
Studies have shown that even over-the-counter stimulants can have the negative outcomes, such as:
- Erratic driving, speeding, weaving and drifting off the road;
- More risky driving behavior;
- Increased drowsiness as stimulants wear off along with withdrawal symptoms; and
- Confused speech, rapid heart rate, paranoia, aggressiveness and hallucination.
Quite simply, these same negative outcomes can cause or contribute to causing a serious collision between a truck and passenger car. Crashes between commercial semi-trucks and passenger cars are very different than crashes between two passenger cars. They tend to be more devastating with more serious injuries and a greater chance for fatalities.
Truck companies are ultimately responsible for the actions and failures of their employee truck drivers. Trucking companies have a duty to ensure that their drivers are being safe and that includes following laws and regulations regarding drug use. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident and you suspect the truck driver was using stimulants or other drugs, please know that you have rights, but you cannot wait to act.
Call Our Kansas City Truck Accident Lawyer
Certain deadlines apply to all injury or wrongful death claims in Kansas and Missouri. You also must act quickly to gather the important evidence you will need to prove that the truck driver, truck company or other party are responsible for the crash. Truck accident claims are complicated, and you should not go it alone.
To discuss your legal options with our Kansas City truck accident lawyer, contact us today at 816-203-0143, or by filling out the form below. We are ready to hear your story, answer your questions and will provide a free, no obligation consultation about your legal claim.