Tractor trailer accidents are some of the worst motor vehicle accidents. Truck driver drug use is a significant factor in accidents, and new data shows that this continues to be so. The federal administration’s latest report on drug test violations confirms that the risk from truck drivers operating under the influence of drugs is very much real and present.
In fact, according to the data by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there was a significant increase of 10% in drug violations in 2021, compared to the same period of time in 2020. The number of actual positive test results increased by approximately 3% to a total of approximately 55,200. The administration considered a refusal to take a test as a violation which could explain the 10% increase.
However, the data also finds that there has been a significant 10% increase in positive test results for cocaine and a 5.4 % increase in positive test results for marijuana. The number of truck drivers abusing cocaine while driving could actually be much higher than the official estimate because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration currently does not include the results of hair tests for cocaine.
Apart from these two drugs, there was also an increase in the number of positive tests for MMD or ecstasy which is a hallucinogen. In 2020, there had been 130 positive drug test results for MMD, and that number increased to 33 in 2021.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data also finds a significant increase in the number of alcohol rule violations in 2021, compared to the previous year. There were 1,122 alcohol test violations in 2020, and that number increased by 28.7 % to a staggering 1,422 positive test results in 2021.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, marijuana remains one of the most widely used drugs in the trucking industry. This drug showed up about 25% higher in terms of the number of positive test results, compared to other drugs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration database includes test results for marijuana, codeine, cocaine, morphine, methamphetamines and ecstasy.
Truck drivers are very likely to abuse a wide variety of drugs, especially stimulants that allow them to stay awake for long periods of time. The biggest risk with stimulants is that they can lead to excessive energy for a while, but once the effects of the drug wear off, there may be sudden sleepiness and fatigue. A truck driver could fall asleep at the wheel, possibly causing a potentially catastrophic accident. Both truck drivers as well as the companies that hire them could be liable in any truck accident claim related to drug use.
The Atlanta trucking accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm are dedicated to the representation of persons who have suffered serious injuries in trucking accidents or accidents involving tractor trailers and 18-wheelers in the metro Atlanta division and across Georgia. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in an accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and discuss your legal rights to a claim. You could qualify for a claim that includes compensation for medical costs, lost wages and other forms of damages.