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Non-Prescription Drugs and Trucker Impairment

When we hear about impaired truck driver causing a crash, we may think of drunk driving or fatigue, but impairment of truckers because of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs is also a leading factor in truck wrecks. The largest study of heavy truck accidents ever conducted in the U.S. cited OTC drug use among the top 10 most frequent causes of truck crashes.

Several types of over-the-counter drugs can dangerously impair a trucker’s ability to safely drive a fully loaded semi weighing as much as 80,000 pounds. But the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) drug-testing program does not account for medications sold over the counter.

At Kraft & Associates, P.C., our legal team investigates and litigates all types of accidents involving commercial trucks, including accidents caused by OTC drug impairment. We represent the victims of truck accidents, including families who have lost loved ones in accidents involving commercial trucks.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by an impaired trucker, Kraft & Associates, P.C., can advise you about your rights, including the right to compensation for your losses. It is important to begin work on a truck accident investigation as soon as possible.

Contact us today at (214) 999-9999 or online for a free consultation about your case. We’re an established and professional law firm with friendly lawyers and staff who are easy to talk to.

OTC Medicines and Stimulants Can Cause Dangerous Driving by Truckers

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says prescription and OTC drugs are, after marijuana and alcohol, the most commonly abused substances by Americans age 14 and older. Yet the FMCSA tests truck drivers only for illicit amphetamines and methamphetamines, as well as drugs like marijuana, cocaine and opiates.

Meanwhile, the FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study of 967 accidents across the nation says OTC drug use by the truck driver was a contributing factor in 19.4 percent of two-vehicle crashes involving large trucks and passenger vehicles.

NIDA points out that while many people think OTC drugs are safer than illicit drugs, that’s only true when they are taken exactly as directed and for the intended purpose. For example, dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in many cold and cough medicines, when taken in very high doses, acts on the same cell receptors as PCP or ketamine, producing similar out-of-body experiences, NIDA says.

Dextromethorphan is the OTC drug most frequently abused to achieve a high, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. But even in lesser doses, dextromethorphan can cause drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, numbness, nausea and vomiting.

Another frequently abused OTC stimulant is ephedrine, which is found in diet pills, including herbal or “natural” weight-loss products. Truckers seeking a little bit of help to stay awake and alert on a long haul may turn to diet pills for their stimulant effect. But ephedrine can also cause insomnia, which only increases fatigue, as well as blurred vision, anxiety and other adverse side effects, like diarrhea and vomiting.

In recent years, energy drinks and energy-booster pills have become popular among drivers who try to fight fatigue with OTC drugs. They, too, contain chemicals that can cause adverse effects in high doses or with long-term use.

We Investigate Commercial Truck Accidents

If you have been involved in a crash with a heavy truck, it is important to have the trucker tested for OTC drugs. An independent test obtained by court order can be used to check for the presence of OTC drugs like dextromethorphan or ephedrine if drug use is a suspected factor in a truck accident. A court order may also be sought to stop the trucking company that employs a driver involved in a crash from destroying any of its drug and alcohol testing results for that driver, which may indicate prior substance abuse.

An investigation may also turn up other evidence of OTC drug impairment, such as receipts for the medications or testimony about the driver’s habit of using OTC drugs.

You must have an experienced lawyer act quickly on your behalf to secure evidence indicating that OTC drug impairment played a role in a truck accident. Kraft & Associates’ truck accident attorneys know how to do the work necessary to obtain this evidence and how to develop a case against a negligent truck driver or trucking company.

Contact Our Texas Commercial Truck Accident Attorneys

The legal team at Kraft & Associates, P.C., has the resources necessary to fully investigate a commercial truck accident and determine its true cause. We work quickly and aggressively to ensure that potentially crucial evidence is preserved and brought to light.

The truck accident attorneys at Kraft & Associates have decades of experience obtaining compensation for clients injured in all types of commercial vehicle accidents. Talk to us before you sign any paperwork offered by an insurance company. Phone (214) 999-9999, email us at kraftlaw@kraftlaw.com, or complete our online form today for a free assessment of your case.