It is illegal for anyone to get behind the wheel if they have been using drugs or alcohol. Although alcohol consumption is legal, it is not lawful to drive under the influence. Truck drivers, in particular, are held to a high standard when it comes to driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, whether the drugs are illicit or prescription. Truckers can drink on their own time—but not within four hours of hitting the road. They also have to adhere to lower legal limits on alcohol at just .04% rather than the standard blood alcohol level of .08, per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
It is not difficult to understand why drug use can become problematic among truck drivers. Reaching their destination as quickly as possible so they can pick up another load is how they earn a living. Sometimes they turn to drugs to help keep them alert while driving long hours each day.
These long hours in isolation can also take an emotional toll. Boredom, loneliness, and depression can cause truckers to escape into drugs or alcohol.
When a truck driver causes an accident, the authorities will automatically require drug and alcohol testing. If you were in an accident and the trucker has tested positive for drugs or alcohol, you need to act quickly to protect your legal rights. You need an attorney who can help you win the damages to which you are entitled. Contact the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 for a free case review and to learn how a Los Angeles illegal drug use lawyer can help.
Legal and Illegal Drug Use in Truckers
We have all purchased over-the-counter drugs that have warning labels indicating that users should not operate machinery while using these medications. As innocuous as many of them might seem, truckers and anyone who is planning to drive should use caution when taking over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
Some of the legal drugs that can negatively impact a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely might surprise some people. Some medications (or combinations of multiple medications) impact people differently, so anyone starting a new medication should be cautious when driving. Some of these medications include:
- Antihistamines and decongestants, including Benadryl and other allergy medications
- Anti-seizure medications
- Diet pills as well as other weight-loss drugs that are labeled “natural”
- Energy drinks
- High-blood pressure medications
- Drugs that may contain codeine, such as Tylenol-Codeine #3
- Any type of prescription narcotic
- Some types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Often people might even mix medications without considering the consequences. These drugs can impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely in many ways, including:
- Drowsiness: Driving while drowsy can lead not only to reduced reaction times, but some drivers fall asleep behind the wheel. When the driver who falls asleep is hauling a vehicle that weighs tens of thousands of pounds, the result can be a devastating accident.
- Anxiety: When medications make drivers feel jittery or anxious, this can lead to making driving decisions based on how they are feeling rather than what is going on with the road and other drivers.
- Slower reaction times: Some medications can impair drivers enough that they have trouble thinking clearly, and they might not be able to stop or avoid an accident in time. This impairment can also lead to the reduced ability to make appropriate decisions.
- Dizziness: For obvious reasons, anyone who feels dizzy while they are behind the wheel is not going to be able to maneuver roads and traffic safely.
Some of the more common illegal drugs that truckers use include cocaine and amphetamines. Often, they use these drugs to help stay awake during long shifts. These drugs both act as stimulants, and they can change a driver’s perceptions of reality and cause a driver to make driving errors that can be fatal.
Marijuana, which is legal for both medical and recreational use in the state of California, is prohibited by the federal government for use by truckers. The impact of marijuana on driving tends to be similar to that of alcohol: impaired judgment, lack of motor coordination, and slowed reaction time.
Damages You Might Be Able to Recover After an Accident Caused by Truck Driver Drug Abuse
As with most personal injury cases, you have the right to pursue physical, emotional, and financial compensation. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to learn more about recovering for the following:
- Property damage, including your vehicle and any personal property inside that the crash might have damaged
- Medical expenses, including any future treatment you might require because of your injuries
- Loss of wages and loss of future earning ability
- Disfigurement, including injuries such as burns that left permanent scarring or the loss of a limb
- Impairment or disability, such as if you now have a permanent limp because of your injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
If a loved one died in an accident where another driver was driving while impaired, you can sue for that person’s medical expenses as well as for the emotional loss of no longer having that person in your life.
For a free legal consultation with an illegal drug use accidents lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Drug-Induced Trucking Accidents
Accidents and lawsuits are generally complex and filing suit against a truck driver who was under the influence has extra layers of complication. The trucking insurance company may try to fight claims of negligence or point the finger at the injured driver.
In addition, there are many areas to be investigated that an attorney may be able to do more effectively. Was the truck driver “on the clock” with the trucking company at the time of the accident? Your attorney may also need to bring in toxicology experts to help the court clearly understand how the drugs might have impacted the truck driver at the time of the crash. It can be challenging to gather the facts to prove your case without the help of a personal injury attorney.
Los Angeles Illegal Drug Use Accidents Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
A Los Angeles Illegal Drug Use Lawyer Can Offer a Free Case Review
If you have serious injuries because you were in an accident caused by a trucker driver who was using illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol and got behind the wheel, an attorney might be able to help you recover damages. The Los Angeles illegal drug use lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help navigate the complexities of these tough cases. Call us at (800) 794-0444 for a free, no-obligation review of your case today.