Many people rely on a cup of coffee to help them wake up or keep them alert during a long work day. And, the energy drink industry has seen a boom like never before. These options have their risks, but there are other ways to stay alert out there and some of them have serious consequences for both their consumers and the people around them. We are talking about stimulants, specifically those used by truckers to increase drive time and ultimately profits.
Why do Truckers Resort to Drugs to Stay Alert
When a truck driver has to make a stop to rest or sleep, they can fall behind on their deliveries and lose precious time on the road, which can cost them and their employer’s money. When coffee and energy drinks aren’t enough to keep them awake, some drivers in the trucking industry have turned to the dangerous practice of taking illegal stimulants.
Such stimulants include blackmarket psychoactive drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, Adderall, and Ritalin. These drugs are most often taken without a proper prescription and can pose serious risks for truck accidents.
The Dangers of Stimulant Use for Truck Drivers
While truck drivers may believe they are being safe by using stimulants to avoid fatigued driving, a study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) indicates a correlation between stimulant use and deadly truck crashes. One of the main reasons for this is that, like any other type of drug, stimulants can impair a driver’s abilities including reflexes, judgment, focus, and more.
Furthermore, while drivers feel more awake, this is often a false sense of alertness. Just because stimulants can cause the senses to wake up and feel more energetic does not mean they are a substitute for rest or sleep.
A sleep-deprived truck driver is still sleep-deprived, even if they take stimulants. This can be even more dangerous than being merely sleepy, as drivers may not be aware just how fatigued they are when they mask their fatigue with drugs.
Commercial Trucking Regulations Keep Roads Safe
When properly followed, regulations about when and for how long truckers can drive keep everyone on the roads safer.
Truckers can only drive for specified periods of time before they must rest. This regulation prevents truckers from overworking and employers from exploiting their employees by requiring that truckers get off the road after so many hours.
Additionally, there are heightened safety laws in place that truckers need to follow. Among these are rules about lane changes, speeds, and distractions.
While truck drivers are required to following specific laws, they do not always play by the rules. Those situations where a truck driver is negligent and causes an accident create liability for themselves and their trucking company. In those cases, both the driver and the company may be liable for injuries and damages.
Call a Phoenix Truck Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
At Abels & Annes, P.C., our Phoenix truck accident lawyers know there is no excuse for truck drivers to drive while impaired by illegal stimulants or other intoxicating substances.