Government focuses on impaired truck driving

The increased use of mood- or mind-altering drugs has also been seen on Ohio highways. The increased risk of car and truck accidents by impaired drivers has led the National transportation Safety Board to list ending alcohol and drug-impaired driving on its annual most wanted list of transportation safety improvements.

This problem has become more complicated through the legalization of marijuana in several states. The national opioid crisis has also expanded the Department of Transportation's drug testing panel for its regulated industries. The chemical makeup of illicit designer drugs is being rapidly altered to evade detection and regulation.

Determining whether a specific drug impairs driving, even if detected in a driver, is also more difficult to determine compared to testing for drunk driving. However, mixing drugs with alcohol has also led to even more lethal consequences.

Impaired driving is not just linked to illegal drugs. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that 26 percent of truck accidents involved prescription drug use, 17 percent with over-the-counter drugs and 2 percent involved illegal drugs in their research of accidents between 2001 and 2003.

These accidents are totally avoidable, according to the NTSB. Preemployment drug screening and consistent toxicology screening after accidents to determine the prevalence of impairing substances among drivers will help develop measures to prevent these accidents.

The NTSB also said that states should use standard practices for drug toxicology testing that sets the circumstances when tests are performed, identifies the drugs that are tested and sets uniform levels for reporting results. Regulators need to determine the frequency of the use of synthetic cannabinoids and other impairing substances among commercial motor vehicle drivers.

Hair testing may be used by motor carriers to detect the use of controlled substances, under appropriate circumstances. The trucking industry should also inform its members about the use of synthetic drugs by drivers and help develop a plan to combat it.

Victims of a truck accident caused by a drug-impaired or drunk truck driver should seek immediate legal representation. An attorney can assist them with gathering evidence and filing a timely cause of action for compensation.

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