Prescription Drugs and Truckers: A Growing Problem

Prescription drug use in the U.S. is hitting record levels. However, a large number of people who are taking these medications have no medical necessity for their use. According to Drugabuse.gov, 52 million people over the age of 12 across the nation have used prescription drugs non-medically at least once in their lives.  The site also reports that the estimated number of prescription drug abusers in 2010 was 8.76 million people, with pain killers being the drug of choice. A Chicago accident lawyer understands that when these drug abusers get behind the wheel of large commercial trucks, they are much more likely to get into an accident.

Truckers and drugs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently released a report titled The Large Truck Crash Causation Study – Analysis Brief. In it, researchers detail the causes of 12,000 accidents from 2001 to 2003. They conclude that 87 percent of truck accidents are caused or contributed to by truck driver error.

Researchers also included the 10 most common associated factors for these accidents, or factors that had a hand in causing the crashes. Prescription drug use made that list. According to the study, 26 percent of all accidents caused by truck driver error occurred because of prescription drug use.

Federal mandate

TheTrucker.com reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is aware of and trying to tackle the problem. The organization is scrutinizing drug makers for their role in producing medication that may negatively impact motorists’ ability to safely drive. The FDA’s announcement came recently along with a draft guidance that drug makers can use to assess the risks that their psychoactive drugs may pose to drivers and those with whom they share the roads.

The goal is for these pharmaceutical companies to become more aware of the effects of these drugs, and to then pass that awareness onto those who take the medications. A Chicago accident lawyer knows that drivers are unlikely to stay off the roads unless they understand the potentially dangerous accidents they may cause due to the effects of their medication.

Real potential for severe accidents

A 36-year-old truck driver recently killed a woman when his truck plowed into the back of her sedan. CBS Pittsburg reports that the man’s truck failed to slow down as he traveled on Route 65 and approached a red light behind the 49-year-old woman’s car. Law enforcement officers state that the man had no recollection of the moments prior to the crash and that he may have fallen asleep. Officers also report that the man is a recovering methamphetamine addict who was allegedly taking prescription medication to help overcome withdrawal symptoms. The medicine commonly causes sleepiness in users.

Motorists and pedestrians who have been injured by reckless drivers under the influence of prescription drugs can find closure by pursuing a claim with the help of a Chicago accident lawyer.