COVID-19 UPDATE: We are open! Our team is working and offering consultations via phone, e-mail, and video conferencing.

Substance Abuse Prevalent Among Commercial Truck Drivers

For 60-70 hours a week, 8 days without a break, semi-truck drivers deliver goods across America. An estimated 2 million Americans are truck drivers today, facing the reality of extended periods of isolation driving endless roads, boredom, uncertain pay structures, and severe loneliness and fatigue.

Tragically, these grueling conditions lead to widespread substance abuse. Drivers often turn to “uppers” such as cocaine to stay awake for 14 hours a day navigating an 80,000-pound truck through hazardous weather conditions, traffic jams, and poorly maintained roads. These drugs are addictive and come with damaging side effects such as agitation and hallucination. Additionally, some drivers mix in “downer” drugs or alcohol to calm down and sleep. All the above contributes to fatalities and poses a danger to everyone in their vicinity. In 2018, the most recent year for data, 4,951 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in California, and 71 percent of those killed were occupants of other vehicles.

A statistical summary of substance abuse among commercial truck drivers in the U.S.

  • The overall annual prevalence of amphetamine use among truck drivers is 21.3 percent, compared to the general population's 0.7 percent consumption rate.
  • If a trucker binge-drinks, even once a month, it “increases the chance of being involved in crash accidents by tenfold.”
  • There is “compelling evidence that thousands of habitual drug users are manipulating federal drug test protocols and obtaining jobs as commercial truck drivers.”
  • In the U.S., truckers have the highest frequency of positive alcohol tests than any other truckers globally, with roughly 12.5% of them testing positive for alcohol.

Driving under the influence of substances is a crime, regardless of the reason. Not only is it a crime, but it is also an extremely dangerous act that puts everyone around them in harm’s way. If you see a truck driving recklessly, stay clear of the vehicle and report it to a traffic safety line. Being extra alert around big, commercial trucks is essential because you never know when a drug could influence a driver to cause a truck accident.

If you or your loved one were harmed in a trucking accident involving any type of commercial vehicle, you might have the right to the financial recovery of your damages from those at fault.

Why Choose Bostwick & Peterson?

Our award-winning attorneys have been recognized every year in Super Lawyers® and have obtained record-setting results. For example, we secured the largest California non-punitive verdict for a single individual. A 56-year-old woman was injured when her car was struck by a truck, likely due to a brake failure. She was awarded $21,000,000. Please view more results here.

The aftermath of a trucking accident can be scary and unknown, and working with skilled legal representation is crucial to getting your life back on track. At Bostwick & Peterson, our award-winning truck accident attorneys are named among The Best Lawyers in America and are available for free and confidential consultations. Please call (888) 831-8448 or fill out this online form to get started.