The ongoing opioid epidemic has ensnared people from all walks of life and every economic background. It’s not surprising that opioid addiction plagues truckers, too. People may not realize it, but trucking can be a physically punishing job, and it takes a toll on truckers’ bodies. Under pressure to drive more miles, truckers who are in pain sometimes turn to opioids to help them cope. But driving a truck while using opioid drugs makes truckers dangerous to everyone on the road.
How Do Opioids Contribute to Truck Wrecks?
Opioid use by truckers is dangerous for many reasons. These drugs are known to slow drivers’ reaction times, making it more likely that a wreck will occur. Opioids can also cause coordination problems and blurred vision, both of which are serious issues when they affect someone driving an 80,000-pound vehicle. Opioids also lead to increased tiredness and fatigue, and driving while tired can be just as bad as driving drunk.
Texas Has the Most Reported Trucker Drug Violations
On a monthly basis, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) publishes a Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse report that tracks the number of reported drug violations by commercial drivers license (CDL) holders. Through the end of August, there were 42,134 reported drug violations in the U.S. Texas has the most reported violations, with 20,887 among CDL holders so far in 2023.
A large percentage of the reported drug violations involve opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. What makes the situation even scarier is that the real number of truckers who use drugs is likely far higher than the reports show, because drug testing is far from perfect. Many truckers likely use opioids or other drugs and simply go undetected.
Proving Trucker Opioid Use in a Personal Injury Case
When a truck crash happens, it isn’t easy to determine whether the trucker was using opioids at the time. If the driver shows visible signs of intoxication, an officer can make an arrest and have the driver drug tested. But urine tests and breath tests cannot currently detect opioids.
If you get injured in a truck wreck in Texas, your lawyer should conduct a thorough investigation that includes hiring experts to help determine whether opioids may have been involved. This investigation could involve getting certain information like the driver’s employment records and the results of their past drug tests and physical exams. There will also be evidence generated after the crash, including the driver’s post-crash medical records.
Even if opioids turn out not to be involved in your case, you’ll still need the assistance of a legal team experienced in complex truck accident cases. These events usually involve several different insurance companies and trucking entities, so these cases require a law firm with enough resources and skill to manage all the moving parts so you can get the compensation you need.
Get Help From a Dallas-Fort Worth Trucking Accident Attorney
At Ted B. Lyon & Associates, we have successfully handled several injury claims that involved truckers using opioids or other drugs. Please call 877-Ted-Lyon / 877-833-5966 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation where you can discuss your potential legal claim with our experienced Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers who serve all of East Texas.