Study Finds High Rates of Drug Use among Truck Drivers

pill%20pile.jpgTruck drivers may be at a high risk for substance use, especially with drugs like methamphetamines used to help them stay awake for a longer period of time. A new international study based on a review of related literature from across the world, finds that many truck drivers use illicit drugs or drink alcohol while they are supposed to be driving.

In fact, according to the review, younger drivers are at a much higher risk for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The review was based on an analysis of trucking safety studies conducted across the globe. At least 20 studies focused on surveys of truck drivers while others relied on testing of their blood samples.

The study found that some of the most frequently abused drugs by truck drivers are amphetamines, marijuana, and cocaine. However, the most abused drug was alcohol. The rates of drug and alcohol usage varied significantly among the truck driver population.

According to the review, certain categories of drivers were much more likely to use illicit drugs and alcohol on the job. These included young drivers, drivers who were traveling on long journeys, those driving at night, those who had a propensity for drinking alcohol, as well as truck drivers who get fewer hours of sleep.

Interestingly enough, there also seems to be an association between truck driver wages and the risk for drug and alcohol abuse behind the wheel. The study finds that truck drivers who were paid below the union-recommended rates, or paid based on job performance, were much more likely to drink and use drugs on the job. On an average, about 50% of the truck drivers admitted to drinking alcohol and driving, while approximately 30% admitted to using amphetamines on the job. Methamphetamines are some of the most abused drugs in the truck driver community.

Truck drivers who get addicted to drugs like methamphetamines, begin with a desire to stay awake for long periods of time. These methamphetamines can help stave off sleep for some time, but have dangerous side effects. As the effects of the drug begin to wear off, the driver may suffer from immediate and sudden fatigue, causing him to simply doze off at the wheel.

Even drugs like cocaine are frequently used by truck drivers to help them stay awake, but such drug use also comes with a host of side effects and complications that increase truck accident risks. For instance, a truck driver who has used cocaine can experience agitation, anxiety, and hallucinations. The drug may change perceptions and slow reaction times. All of this can increase the risk of a truck accident.

The Indiana truck accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy LLP represent persons injured in trucking accidents across Indiana.