You and most other drivers in Texas are already wary of semi-trucks and tractor-trailers that travel the roads alongside you. While you may do your best to remain safe, always give big rigs room and never cut off a large truck, you do not know what is going on with the drivers of those trucks. Unfortunately, the stress of being on the road in this often-solitary job can lead to some poor decisions on their part.
According to recent research, it is not unusual for truck drivers to turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with the stress, loneliness and fatigue that can come with their profession. After spending nearly 500 miles a day on the road for multiple days in a row, it is likely that these drivers are looking for some kind of relief.
Substance abuse in truck drivers can occur for many reasons. For example, many drivers worry that they will not be able to meet the demands of the trucking companies for which they work and that taking breaks due to fatigue could put them behind schedule. As a result, some truck drivers use stimulant drugs, like amphetamines and cocaine, in efforts to stay awake much longer than they should. While the drugs may cause them to feel alert, these substances impair their driving abilities. In fact, some side effects include:
- Dependence on the substance
- High blood pressure
Sadly, younger truck drivers may be more likely to use such substances as they have a higher likelihood of taking risks in efforts to earn more money. They also have less experience on the road and with this type of long-haul driving, so they may have a greater worry about falling behind. It is also not uncommon for trucking companies to assign overnight trips to younger drivers, which could also contribute to their considering drug use to stay awake.
Dangers to everyone
Any impaired driver on the road is dangerous, but impaired truck drivers have an even greater risk of causing a serious or fatal accident. If you find yourself injured in a truck accident because the driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol, you may have reason to take legal action. Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver, trucking company or other parties considered liable could allow you to pursue compensation for damages allowable under state law.