All Press Releases for June 05, 2010

Substance Use and Trucking

Substance use and trucking seem to be very prevalent as drivers try to get the edge on driver fatigue and boredom.

    DAYTONA, FL, June 05, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- When you drive on America's highways, you expect the drivers around you to follow the rules and drive as safely as you do. Unfortunately, in all too many cases, other drivers are under the influence of chemical substances to make help them stay alert. Substance use and trucking seem to be very prevalent as drivers try to get the edge on driver fatigue and boredom. Stimulants and other chemicals used to stay alert often have the opposite effect, especially once severe fatigue sets in. Substance abuse is a leading factor in many fatal truck accidents.

Reasons Truckers Turn to Stimulants
There are many reasons why road truckers might decide to try to use artificial stimulants to maintain their edge on the road. Truck driving is a tough job and is frequently monotonous and boring, especially on the Interstate Highway System. Some reasons truck drivers may use a stimulant substance may include:

- Long hours
- Unrealistic deadlines
- Inexperience
- Performance pressures

Many drivers get paid more to get their loads in early, since they ostensibly must stay within the set speed limits, they tend to drive for longer periods of time. In order to maintain their edge, they will drink gallons of coffee and pop other artificial stimulants in order to stave off driver fatigue.

Legal Substances
There are many natural and man-made stimulants that claim they help boost alertness and maintain energy. Many drivers use one or more of the following stimulants to keep awake:

- No-doze
- Coffee
- Energy drinks
- Prescription medications

These substances are legal and are readily available in most truck stops. While they may artificially stimulate and increase wakefulness for a period of time, they often lead to a crash and must continue to be maintained.

Too much caffeine, which is the primary ingredient of most of these substances, can cause jitteriness, which then poses another problem to truck drivers taking too much caffeine. Reaction times decrease when caffeine jitters set in.

Illegal Substances
All too often, when over the counter stimulants fail to work any longer, some truck drivers decide on more powerful, and illegal substances to try to maintain their energy level. Examples of illegal stimulants include:

- Methamphetamines
- Cocaine
- Abused prescription medications
- Alcohol
- Marijuana

Although alcohol and marijuana are not known as stimulants, many drivers turn to them to help combat the boredom of the road. Drug addictions usually promote a cycle of looking for the next fix, making stoned drivers especially dangerous to other drivers. The National Transportation Safety Board found that 12.5 percent of fatal truck accidents involved marijuana.

Hours of Service Rules
In order to try to mitigate some of the situations that lead to long hours on the road, federal regulations limit the number of hours a driver can be on the road, with mandatory downtime where no driving is performed. Violations can lead to fines for the trucking company and the driver, as well as possible revocation of the driver's commercial driver's license. Once trucking companies learn to put the safety of all motorists on the road above profits; trucking accidents caused by substance use while driving should be minimized.

To find out more about substance use and trucking, please visit the website of Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter, Florida truck accident attorneys, today at

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Sara Goldstein
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