Marijuana Use Down, Cocaine Up for Truck Drivers

The dangers of alcohol and drug use behind the wheel have been well-known for decades. With marijuana becoming legal for recreational and medical purposes in many US states including Alaska, you would probably not be surprised that pot tends to be the drug of choice for truck drivers. Data gathered through the FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse shows that marijuana use is the #1 cause of drug program violations.

What is surprising is that cocaine abuse has surged in recent months, revealing weaknesses in the goals the Clearinghouse was intended to achieve: More truck drivers are using cocaine because officials do not test hair samples or conduct other exams for hardcore drugs. These substances are just as dangerous, so it is disturbing to know that more truckers could be slipping under the radar. The potential for serious collisions is obviously higher when a driver is impaired by drugs, but it is reassuring to know that you have options under Alaska law. You can trust an Anchorage, AK truck accidents attorneyfor help with the legal process, and read on for some background information.


Why Trucker Substance Abuse is so Dangerous 

It does not take a scientific background to know that the risks are more extreme for those who operate large commercial trucks. The active ingredient in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), carries mind-altering effects; the implications impact the brain’s ability to control muscle movement, balance, memory, and judgment. In some ways, pot use is similar to alcohol use.

Cocaine, on the other hand, heightens the senses and increases focus. This might seem like a benefit for truck drivers operating big rigs, but the effects are the opposite extreme. Cocaine can lead to overconfidence, where truckers are convinced that their actions are safe – when, in reality, the spike in energy causes erratic behavior.

Worse, once the user “comes down” from being high on cocaine, they may suffer from fatigue, lack of focus, and flu-like symptoms. In some cases, a trucker could even suffer a stroke, seizure, or heart attack while operating a massive commercial vehicle with a fully loaded trailer.


Complexities with Truck Accident Claims

Alaska personal injury laws cover truck collisions, so you may qualify to recover compensation for your losses. You need evidence showing that the truck operator failed to exercise reasonable care while driving, and use of any controlled substance would be solid proof. However, there are some challenges with these cases:

  • The size differential between a truck and passenger vehicle is considerable, so it is common for automobile occupants to suffer serious, catastrophic injuries.
  • Truckers may carry more insurance coverage, and you can expect the insurance company to fight your claim at every opportunity to protect a big payout.
  • There may be multiple potential parties in a truck collision case, including an employer, the truck’s owner, trucking company, and many others.

Our Alaska Trucking Accidents Lawyers Will Pursue All Available Remedies

For more information on your legal options after a commercial vehicle crash, please contact Power & Power Law in Anchorage, Alaska at 907-222-9990 or via our website. We can advise you on the process for recovering compensation after reviewing your situation.