Truck drivers in Connecticut and across the U.S. are under more pressure than ever before, with driver shortages and by-the-load incentives pushing many of them to work long hours on little sleep. To help combat fatigue, some drivers are turning to illegal stimulants to stay alert on the road. However, these drugs are dangerous and could seriously impair driving performance.
In 2016, 3,986 people were killed in traffic accidents involving large trucks. Of those, 83 percent of the victims were occupants of passenger vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians. Only 17 percent of the victims were truck drivers or other occupants of the truck. Studies have shown that driver fatigue is a major contributor to truck crashes. In fact, a survey found that 25 percent of truck drivers admitted to falling asleep while driving within the past month. Meanwhile, statistics show that 65 percent of truck crashes occur on long-haul trips.
In an attempt to stay awake on long trips, some truck drivers are using dangerous stimulants like amphetamines, cocaine and methamphetamine. However, these drugs can have a negative impact on a user's attention span, focus, cognitive and motor functions, coordination, impulse control and decision making abilities. They can also cause drivers to become aggressive, paranoid, sleepy or delusional when they wear off. As a result, drivers on these drugs could easily lose control of their vehicle and cause a crash.
Victims of truck accidents often suffer severe injuries. In order to recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages, it may be necessary for victims to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible truck driver. An attorney could help prepare the claim and negotiate a fair settlement.