Do you often think about how dangerous it is to drive near a semi-truck when you have to pass one on the highway? For many people, that’s a crucial moment. It’s very easy to understand how small your vehicle really is and how much danger you could face if that driver makes a mistake and hits your car. The semi driver may be fine, but you could suffer catastrophic injuries or even get killed in the wreck.
The risks only increase when that truck driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, despite laws against it, impaired driving is something that happens day in and day out in the United States.
Why does it happen?
Many reasons contribute to this epidemic of impaired drivers. Some suffer from addiction; despite knowing that they should not drive while impaired, they feel compelled to do so anyway. Others mistakenly believe that they can still drive safely even while impaired.
Some experts have noted that the lifestyle of a truck driver can take a toll. It’s a solitary, often lonely life. Driving can get boring when covering a seemingly endless stretch of road. Drivers often do not get to see their families for long stretches of time; others may want a family but find it impossible to start one since they’re on the road so much.
This does not excuse it, of course, but it helps to show you why truck drivers may take these risks when it is you who could pay the price.
How common is drug use?
It is hard to determine exactly how common drug use is. Some drivers do use consistently and do not cause accidents. The only real way to look at it is to study use after accidents or arrests.
For instance, 4,600 truck drivers got involved in fatal accidents in 2017, per the most recent report that came out in 2019. Of those drivers, 252 of them went through drug tests that came up positive. That is about 5% of the total.
However, not all drivers get tested. Just 41% took drug tests and 59% did not. So, out of the 41% who got tested, the percentage of failed tests is much higher — about one out of every eight drivers.
Did you get hit by a truck driver, impaired or otherwise? Did you suffer catastrophic injuries or even lose a loved one in the wreck?
If so, make sure you take the time to look into your legal options during this difficult period in life. You may find that you can get compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages and much more.