Caution on the Road with Big Rigs

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On December 7th, 2015, a semi went off the road not too far from Indianapolis. Semis going off the road is not particularly uncommon, and the driver isn’t always at fault. Difficult road or weather conditions can cause even the most experienced driver to suffer an accident. But in this case, it was the large quantities of alcohol in the driver’s system that were determined to be the primary factor in causing the accident.

Alcohol abuse by semi drivers seems to be reasonably uncommon, but the fact that it exists at all is terrifying. Drunk drivers are frightening in general; a drunk driver behind the wheel of a multi-ton semi is harrowing. And alcohol isn’t the only drug that semi drivers might be abusing. Other commonly misused substances include:

  • Uppers, including speed and cocaine, which can cause a driver to overcompensate and cause an accident
  • Sleep pills, which are used to squeeze in a few hours of sleep, but leave the driver groggy
  • Marijuana, often used recreationally, which dulls reflexes

It is difficult to even begin to guess how common the use of illicit substances by truck drivers is. Though there have been attempts to answer that question using questionnaires, it is unlikely that truckers would choose to admit to drug use. Even asking truckers whether other drivers use drugs is unlikely to yield a correct answer, as truckers probably hide this behavior from each other as much as possible.

There are definitely truckers on the road right now who are using these substances, and who are much more likely to be in an accident because of it. If you or someone you love has been in an accident, and an 18 wheeler or other large vehicle was involved, it is reasonable to ask whether drugs played a part. Please contact an experienced attorney who can help you find out whether or not illegal substances were a factor in your accident.