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Addiction and Truck Crashes

Truck drivers face high stress and dangerous jobs. They’re on the road for many hours and face tight deadlines as well as other pressures. Some experts worry that the high stress which is part of his occupation as well as social isolation and the pressure to meet tight deadlines can push drivers to try illegal substances or even to experience addiction.

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Most truck drivers use caffeine to stay alert. However, there our studies suggesting more controlled substances are sometimes used by drivers. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a number of safeguards measure to avoid addicted drivers from driving commercial trucks. Trucks drivers are subject to strict pre-employment screening processes, which includes checks for drug and alcohol addiction. In addition, commercial truck drivers are subject to post-accident and random testing for alcohol and drugs. Surveys of US drivers by the FSMCSA suggest that only about 1% of US drivers test positive in random drug and alcohol tests.

However, a larger study of many countries, including countries in Europe, Asia, Scandinavia as well as countries such as Australia and the US suggest drunk driving and addiction on the roads are a much greater problem than suggested for truck drivers. According to that study, about half of all truck drivers reported drinking and driving and about 30% reported using amphetamines. In some countries, the number of truck drivers using these substances was even higher. In Brazil, for example, 91% of truck drivers admitted to drinking alcohol while driving.

Edmarlon Girotto of the Universidade Estadual de Londrina and Dr. Marcos Basíllio of the Federal Highway Police of Brazil were involved in the study and concluded that drug addiction as well as drug and alcohol use by commercial truck drivers was closely linked with working conditions. Their recommendations for reducing addiction and drug use among drivers include:

  • Improving working conditions for drivers
  • Improving wages for drivers, including reducing the linking of wages or income with production
  • Reducing working hours

According to the researchers, improving working conditions would place less pressure on drivers and would make illegal substances less attractive. Obviously, more research is needed to determine to what extent better working conditions would reduce instances of drugged and drunk driving on the road.

If you have been injured in a truck collision caused by a driver under the influence, contact a Hollywood truck accident attorney by contacting Flaxman Law Group. Your first consultation is free and comes with absolutely no obligation.