During a significant meeting held between major players in the trucking industry and Congress on June 12, a group representing large carriers told lawmakers they had evidence that thousands of truck drivers were “manipulating” drug-testing protocols and should be removed from the nation’s highways before they caused truck accidents with the potential for major injuries and fatalities. According to news reports, one of the large industry groups, the Trucking Alliance, told Congress they believe thousands of commercial truck drivers use illegal drugs and that they have the drug testing data to substantiate their claims.
The Trucking Alliance recently submitted survey data to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) comparing the pre-employment drug test results of 151,662 truck driver applicants who were asked to submit two drug tests – a urinalysis and a hair analysis. Almost all applicants held an active commercial driver license. Nearly 94 percent tested drug-free. But, thousands failed one or both drug tests. This survey is the first of its kind in the trucking industry.
Urine Tests Don’t Detect Drugs
Disturbingly, the urinalysis, which is the only testing method that is recognized by the USDOT and relied on by a majority of trucking companies, failed to identify most drug users. While the urine test detected drugs in 949 applications or 1 percent of the population, 8.6 percent of the truck driver applicants either failed or refused to take the hair test. In other words, the urinalysis missed nine out of 10 illicit drug users.
The survey also found that the most frequently abused drug by truck drivers was cocaine, followed by opioids and marijuana. Applicants who did not pass the hair test or refused to take the test were likely disqualified for employment at the companies where they applied. But the report said these drivers likely obtained the same job elsewhere at companies that only administer urine tests.
This survey is cause for serious concern because it provides compelling evidence that thousands of habitual drug users are circumventing a system that is supposed to prevent drug use among commercial drivers. Based on the survey’s findings, the Trucking Alliance has recommended that more than 300,000 truck drivers be purged from the industry. The group is also asking Congress to lay down guidelines requiring hair tests to ensure that truck drivers who are habitual drug users can be weeded out.
The Danger of Drugged Driving
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the effects of specific drugs on driving skills differ depending on how they act in the brain. For example, marijuana can slow reaction time, impair judgment of time and distance, and decrease coordination. Drivers who have used cocaine or methamphetamine can be aggressive and reckless when driving. Some types of prescription medicines, including benzodiazepines and opioids, can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and impair cognitive functioning (thinking and judgment). All of these effects can lead to vehicle crashes. This is particularly true when it comes to large trucks, which require a great deal of focus and coordination. Research studies have shown negative effects of marijuana on drivers, including an increase in lane weaving, poor reaction time, and altered attention to the road. Other studies have found that being under the influence of opioids while driving can double your risk of having a crash.
How an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, or if you have lost a loved one in an auto accident caused by a negligent (careless) driver, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
For over 47 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims get fair compensation for their losses. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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