Understanding Liability When Truck Drivers Drugged Driving Hurt Innocent People
With recent changes to legislation controlling the truck driving industry, namely that drivers can drive more than 11 straight hours in a 14-hour workday, concerns surrounding drug abuse amongst drivers have increased. This means that many drivers, especially during this particular economy, are driving more than their usual weekly 70-hours, to support themselves and their families. But while this is a good thing for consumers, it can be a bad thing for people on or another the roadways due to truck drivers drugged driving in Oregon.
This is because there are issues with fatigue and staying awake for some truck drivers that are trying to do as many deliveries as possible for as long as possible. Therein lies a few of the central problems: fatigue and loneliness. Drivers are sadly resorting to drugs to attempt to cure these both. Accidents are happening as a result. If you need to speak with an attorney about a trucking accident that involved a truck drivers drugged driving, our Oregon Attorney is standing by and waiting to discuss your case during a FREE consultation.
Amphetamines and Cocaine Used by Truck Drivers
A 2019 National Institutes of Health study found that approximately 27.6 percent of truck drivers surveyed have taken illicit drugs. A whopping 21.3 percent of those drug users have consumed amphetamines. A low 2.2 percent of those same pool of drug users consumed cocaine. Amphetamines, also known as “speed” and a “study drug,” includes ADHD medications, such as Adderall, Vyvanse, Dexedrine, and Ritalin. Amphetamines can be legally prescribed by a doctor, but are often illegally purchased or obtained and abused. Amphetamines come in tablet or capsule form, and can be consumed orally, or if abused, also snorted.
Cocaine is an even stronger stimulant than Amphetamines and is illegal under all circumstances. Cocaine comes in a powder form and is snorted. Both Amphetamines and Cocaine are often abused in an effort to become more productive and sharper, stay awake, perform better, and simply to get a high. Truck drivers are working against the clock day and night and speed helps them beat it. However, stimulants, especially taken in high dosages, and by those not prescribed them, can backfire immensely. Stimulants taken by people not prescribed them can often react too fast; become severely anxious; become psychotic or manic; become paranoid; eat very little; and experience insomnia.
The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that an estimated 12.6 million people drove while under the influence of illegal drugs. Truck drivers surely make up a significant portion of those people. This is why truck drivers drugged driving in Oregon is a serious problem, and it could also be a fatal problem.
Laws Regulating Drugged Driving Amongst Truck Drivers
The United States Department of Transportation’s (“DOT”) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) governs and regulates the truck driving industry. Specifically, with respect to drugged driving, FMCSA’s Federal Drug & Alcohol Testing Regulations establish guidelines for truck drivers.
According to these regulations, all truck drivers, both full and part-time, must be tested, unless the truck is operated on private property. When they have to be tested is another matter. Drivers are subject to being drug tested during the following stages: pre-employment; post-accident; random testing; reasonable suspicion; return-to-duty; and follow-up. Below are brief descriptions of each opportunity to be tested:
- Pre-employment: new drivers must be drug tested before an employer permits them to drive
- Post-accident: when in a fatal accident or having received a traffic citation from an injury or vehicle-disabling accident. Drug test must take place within 32 hours of accident.
- Random testing: drivers are subject to random testing, but only when the driver is on-duty or immediately before or after. A late arrival may be considered a positive test result. Drivers may be regularly (not randomly) tested off-duty, at home.
- Reasonable suspicion: DOT-trained supervisors can request a test whenever signs of drug use are apparent. Must be based off the driver’s appearance, behavior, speech, or body odors.
- Return-to-Duty: require direct observation—when driver is returning to perform a sensitive safety function
- Follow-up: six are required during first 12 months after a return-to-duty test
If the Test is Positive
If a truck driver’s test comes back positive, they will be taken off the road immediately. In order to return to driving, a driver must select from the return-to-duty process options presented to them by his or her employer. This process is defined by each employer. A driver cannot return to driving unless this process is complete.
More generally, the truck driver will lose a source of income for however long they will be out of employment for. These periods of unemployment can be very long, as the return-to-duty process is quite extensive. On top of that, drivers who have positive drug test histories tend to get hired less, as employers do not want to chance it and can easily hire plenty of other candidates without those histories. This all can take a toll on a driver and his or her family and friends immensely.
Finally, an accident can much more readily occur if a truck driver is on drugs like “speed.” There are already enough factors at play on the road that can lead to a tragic or fatal accident. Driving drugged only increases those risk factors. Contact our Oregon Attorney today if you have been in a truck driving drugged accident.
Learn Your Rights After a Truck Driver Drugged Driving Causing Your Oregon Trucking Accidents
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of a trucking accident or collision contact the Oregon Truck Accident Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take Trucking accident cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.
Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law.