How Opioid Use Contributes to Causing Trucking Accidents

Since the 1990s, the U.S. has been afflicted by a growing opioid epidemic, with high incidences of misuse, addiction and overdose deaths. Although these synthetic drugs are effective in relieving pain and reducing tension, they can have drastic side effects, including slowing of physical reactions and loss of coordination. This can be particularly hazardous when driving a truck, which is a physically demanding job. Opioids can cause blurry vision, hamper coordination and lead to drowsiness and fatigue. Being under the influence of opioids makes truckers —who are in control of vehicles weighing up to 80,000 pounds — a serious danger on the roads.

Each month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) publishes a Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse report tracking truckers’ drug violations. Through July 2023, there were 36,327 reported drug violations in the U.S. There were 4,365 violations in New Jersey, the 15th most of any state. A large percentage of reported violations involve opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone and others. And given that the trucking industry’s drug screening mechanisms are far from perfect, it’s likely that there are truckers using drugs who simply go undetected.

After a truck wreck occurs, it can be a challenge to determine whether the driver was under the influence of opioids. Law enforcement can make an arrest at the scene if the driver is showing signs up visible intoxication, but confirming opioid use is difficult because such drugs do not trigger positive results in breath or urine tests.

If you get hurt in a truck accident, your lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation, with the help of experts, to discover whether opioids were involved. This usually includes obtaining items like the driver’s employment history and results of past physical exams. Other evidence can come in the form of documents generated after the accident, such as the driver’s post-crash medical records and workers’ comp records. Any of these could contain information about possible use of opioids or other drugs.

Whether opioids or other drugs were involved, injured people need skilled lawyers on their side because of the complex nature of truck accident claims. There are often multiple defendants and defense attorneys, all trying to reduce the payout of damages. Make sure to retain a New Jersey lawyer who knows how to maximize your potential recovery of medical expenses, lost wages and compensation for pain and suffering.

At Seigel Law in Ridgewood, we represent victims of truck accidents throughout New Jersey. To discuss your potential legal claim with one of our experienced attorneys at a free initial consultation, please call 201-444-4000 or contact us online.

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