Part of the reason that driving a big rig is a tough job is due to the amount of responsibility, the isolation and the long hours. You would expect truck drivers to take seriously their duty to everyone on the road, and many do, but others turn to illegal substances just to make it through the day.
The governmental agencies overseeing the trucking industry do what they can to make sure that those behind the wheel of these massive vehicles are not taking illegal drugs, but some say the testing method widely used in the industry is inadequate. In fact, the Trucking Alliance, also called the Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, says that somewhere around 300,000 truckers should not drive due to drug use.
How do they know truckers are using illegal drugs?
The U.S. Department of Transportation uses a urinalysis to test truck drivers for illicit drug use instead of the more accurate hair analysis. The Trucking Alliance discovered that approximately 94% of truck drivers passed the urinalysis test. That sounds good for motorists like you who share the road with these large and heavy vehicles, but the results are misleading.
The addition of the hair analysis test indicated that the urinalysis failed to identify drug use in nine out of 10 drivers. Of course, these numbers could be higher since some refused to participate in the more sensitive test. The most prevalent drugs found were marijuana, cocaine and opioids. Driving with these drugs in your system would certainly put people at risk, and these individuals are driving 18-wheelers.
What does this mean for you?
According to the data, somewhere in the neighborhood of 301,000 truck drivers take to the roads with illegal drugs in their systems. This presents a significant danger to you, your passengers and everyone else on the road. To make matters worse, you have no idea whether the truck driver behind you, next to you or in front of you is one of those drivers.
Until better testing methods are used in order to get these dangerous truckers off the roads, the risk they present to your life remains high. If you suffer injuries or lose a loved one to a negligent or reckless truck driver who was taking illegal drugs at the time of the crash, you may use that fact as evidence in a personal injury or wrongful death claim as you pursue compensation for the damages you incurred and could continue to incur.