A tractor-trailer can weigh up to 40 times the weight of a standard motor vehicle. It can take as much as 40 times the length of road to stop a big rig than to stop a regular car on a clear, dry day. Add adverse weather, poor truck maintenance or worn tires to the mix, and the chances of a tragic accident increase. Add further the impairment by drugs or alcohol of the truck's operator, and you and your family are in danger of catastrophic injuries.
Nevertheless, a recent report shows that more truck drivers than ever before are behind the wheel while under the influence of mind-altering substances. While the reasons for using and abusing drugs may be understandable, there is no justification for such reckless and negligent behavior when it causes injury or takes a life.
While the opioid crisis reaches epidemic proportions, it should not surprise you that drug use among truck drivers is on the rise. Truck drivers name numerous reasons for their use of alcohol, cocaine, meth and particularly opioids behind the wheel, including:
- The pressure of their employers to meet higher quotas
- Hours of monotonous driving
- Isolation in the cabs of their rigs
- Long periods of separation from their families and loved ones
- Exhaustion, fatigue and sleep deprivation
- Pain from injuries on the job
The use of certain substances may relieve the boredom and monotony, allow drivers to work longer hours, and relieve the feelings of loneliness and solitude. However, as with any abuse of chemical substances, the relief you feel at first becomes harder to find as you continue to use, requiring a truck driver to increase the amount of drugs or alcohol he or she consumes to find the same euphoria.
You pay the price
A recent survey of truckers concludes that when you are on a Florida road with your family, about half the trucks you encounter are operated by a driver who admits to drinking behind the wheel. About 30 percent of surveyed truckers say they use amphetamines to stay awake.
You likely understand the difficulty a driver has operating a car after a few drinks. Imagine, therefore, the challenge of keeping a 40-ton, fully loaded tractor-trailer under control while traveling at highway speeds under the influence of a mind-altering substance. If your family happens to be in the way when such a driver loses control or fails to stop, you have every right to seek justice.