Truck drivers, like any other person, may need certain prescription medications in order to combat medical challenges, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Regardless, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) not only requires a prescription from a licensed medical professional for any drug taken, but it also requires that truck drivers refrain from taking certain types of prescription medications that may actually interfere with the ability to operate a commercial truck.
If you suffered injuries due to a commercial truck driver abusing prescription medications, learn how a Los Angeles prescription drug use lawyer may help you build a personal injury case. Contact our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800)-794-0444 for a free consultation.
Federal Drug Testing Requirements
Any trucking company or company that hires truck drivers to operate large commercial trucks has the legal responsibility under the FMCSA Regulations to test their drivers during the hiring process when a suspicion of illegal drug use (or inappropriate prescription drug use) arises. Testing may occur after a trucking accident due to impaired driving or randomly.
Prescription Drug Use and Federal Regulations
A truck driver must have a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare or medical provider for any medication they take. If any truck driver operates a large commercial truck without a valid prescription and an investigation discovers they took prescription medications, they may suffer severe consequences.
Prescription drugs may result in serious side effects, such as seizures, heart failure, dizziness, drowsiness, irregular heartbeat, and more. These side effects can easily impair a driver’s response time or ability to stay awake at the wheel.
For a free legal consultation with a Prescription Drug Use Accidents Lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Certain Prescription Medications Disqualify a Trucker from Driving
The FMCSA also established regulations regarding the use of certain prescription medications. According to 21 CFR 1308.11, a truck driver must never take the following medications while operating a commercial truck:
- Opiates and opium derivatives
- Narcotics (or any other habit-forming prescription medications)
- Anti-seizure medications
If a qualified medical practitioner writes a statement to the employer that the truck driver is able to safely operate a large commercial truck while using a particular prescription medication on the list, and a medical examiner certifies that decision, then the truck driver will receive authorization to drive and take that particular prescription medication.
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Types of Prescription Drugs Abused by Truck Drivers
While the list of prescription drugs that have the potential for abuse is nearly endless, there are several types of prescription drugs that truck drivers oftentimes abuse including the following:
- Pain Relievers: In some cases, truck drivers may have pain due to sitting for long periods of time, including back, neck, or leg pain. Some prescription pain relievers can ease the suffering of pain symptoms but also cause a truck driver to become drowsy.
- Brain Stimulants: In an attempt to drive longer hours and combat fatigue, many truck drivers will abuse prescription drugs intended to actually be brain stimulants. Unfortunately, these prescription medications can increase the risk of high body temperatures, heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and even seizures.
- Antidepressants: Some antidepressants will cause a reduction in the brain’s ability to understand pain, which can assist those truck drivers who suffer from back, neck, or leg pain. Antidepressants can actually substantially slow brain activity, which then leads to lowered cognitive function and the ability to process information quickly.
- Cold Medicines: Some cold medicines, specifically for cough, contain codeine, which can directly impair the motor skills and cognitive function of a truck driver.
- Other Medicines: Other types of medicines that impair driving include other anxiety medications, allergy medications, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, diet pills, seizure medications, high-blood pressure medications, cholesterol medications, naproxen, and more.
Additionally, if a truck driver takes more than one type of prescription medication, the interactions that occur can also contribute to the truck driver’s ability to operate their large commercial truck appropriately and safely.
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Dangerous Symptoms of Prescription Drug Use
In some cases, a truck driver can receive a prescription appropriately and have no side effects or symptoms. The following are some dangerous symptoms of prescription drug use that may directly impact a truck driver’s ability to operate a large tractor-trailer or large commercial truck safely:
- Cognitive dysfunction (leading to the inability to make quick or correct decisions)
- Coordination issues
Any accident involving a commercial truck should include testing of the truck driver for any illegal drug, alcohol, prescription drug, or over-the-counter medication.
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The only way to determine whether or not prescription medication was the root cause of an accident or contributed to the severity of the accident is through testing.
Other documents and evidence will also prove that the truck driver was under the influence of a prescription medication that caused side effects contributing to the accident, including receipts from pharmacies, documentation from physicians, and any previous drug testing of the trucking company or company that employed the truck driver.
A Los Angeles prescription drug use lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may help a victim obtain documentation for a personal injury case when seeking compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
How a Los Angeles Prescription Drug Use Lawyer May Help
If you suffered injuries and losses related to a trucking accident, learn how a Los Angeles prescription drug use lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may help. If we take on your case, we may obtain a court order for drug testing of the truck driver as well as issue a spoliation letter to preserve any evidence related to your claim from the truck driver and trucking company.
You have the right to file a claim for any losses or injuries directly resulting from someone else’s negligence. Reach out to Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800)-794-0444 for a free consultation.