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DUI, Substance Abuse, and Truck Accidents

Drunk driving accidents involving passenger vehicles kill and injury many people each year. Truck accidents caused by drunk driving and illegal substances can be even more angering, since truck drivers are carefully monitored and regulated. Truck accidents involving illegal and controlled substances are very preventable. Unfortunately, these types of accidents also cause serious injuries. Since trucks are so large, they can easily crush other cars, bicycles, and pedestrians, causing devastating brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and fatalities.

Many types of substances can be associated with DUI truck accidents:

1) Alcohol. The decision to have a few drinks on a hot day can have serious consequences for a truck driver. Driving over the legal blood alcohol limit makes a truck driver more likely to lose control of the vehicle, make mistakes while driving, or even drift off behind the wheel. Truck drivers who drink and drive are even more dangerous than drivers of passenger vehicles who do the same thing.

2) Illegal substances. Just like the rest of the population, truck drivers sometimes choose to take illegal drugs. Unfortunately, these drugs can make them hallucinate, can raise their heart beats, and can make them lose consciousness or fall asleep – while they are driving a truck. Some drugs – such as cocaine – put users at risk of a heart attack or other serious health problems. A truck driver who takes too much cocaine and has a heart attack will likely kill others on the road as he or she loses control of their car. Some illegal drugs leave a driver completely unable to focus or make rational decisions – not a safe state for a driver.

3) Medication. Surprisingly, it’s not only alcohol and illegal drugs that can cause truck accidents and truck-car accidents. Many prescription medications and even over-the-counter medications have side effects and should not be taken while driving. Many allergy and cold medications, for example, cause drowsiness. The prescription medications for some conditions can cause dizziness or other symptoms that are dangerous behind the wheel. In some cases, taking prescription medications incorrectly or in the wrong doses can also lead to dangerous side effects. It is the responsibly of the truck driver to listen to his or her pharmacists and doctor and to take medications exactly as prescribed.

4) Stay-alert substances. Since many truck drivers are paid by the load or by distance traveled, many truck drivers have financial incentives to drive as long as possible – even though there are strict regulations in place regarding frequent breaks and rest stops. Some drivers take caffeine and even stronger substances to stay awake in order to meet deadlines. There are over-the-counter caffeine products and energy drinks as well as illegal substances that promise to keep users awake. The problem is that drivers can easily fall asleep, even when taking these products, potentially causing a serious accident.