The federal government limits the number of hours a commercial truck driver can drive without rest. However, truckers are paid based on the miles they drive, not the hours they work, so it is common for truck drivers to violate these regulations in an effort to make up for lost time.
When violating the federal hours-of-service regulations, truckers risk becoming too tired to drive safely. To combat fatigue, many drivers turn to illegal substances, like amphetamines and cocaine.
How common is drug use among truck drivers?
According to American Addiction Centers, over 80% of truck drivers may use amphetamines and over 8% may use cocaine. Use of amphetamines and cocaine do not just make truckers stay awake longer. They can also cause a driver to take unnecessary risks, such as speeding and changing lanes erratically.
Use of amphetamines or cocaine can also cause several side effects, which could affect a trucker’s driving. Side effects could include hallucinations, agitation and hypertension, among others.
How can I protect myself from dangerous truck drivers?
Because trucks weigh much more than passenger vehicles weigh, they can also cause much more damage in a collision. Keeping your distance is one of the best habits you can practice when driving near trucks.
When you allow additional space between your vehicle and a truck, you can help avoid being caught in one of the truck's many blind spots. However, it will also allow you more time to react if the truck driver does something unpredictable, such as slam on the brakes, drift from the lane or swerve abruptly.
Being involved in a collision with a commercial truck can lead to life-altering injuries. If you have been injured in a collision involving a truck, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical expenses and other costs associated with your injuries.