On Monday, a local news channel reported that an
investigation into drug use by truck drivers traveling on Georgia roads revealed confessions by drivers who operated
their trucks while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Truck drivers exchange cargo for drugs at truck stops.
According to Keith Lewis, a retired Georgia Bureau of Investigations agent
who specialized in cargo theft, truck drivers who are addicted to drugs
will trade their load for drugs. Drug dealers often station themselves
at truck stops and ask drivers what they have in their trailer. Then,
the drug dealers will give the truck driver directions for where to take
their trailer to be unloaded in exchange for drugs.
Truck drivers described routinely pulling into truck stops to solicit drugs.
One driver recounted starting with a $40 purchase of crack. But his drug
dealer began offering him larger amounts of crack. When he could no longer
afford to purchase the drugs, the dealer suggested unloading his trailer
in exchange for crack. The driver was given directions to a warehouse
approximately 45 minutes away from the truck stop. There, $42,000 worth
of fruit punch was unloaded off his truck. Another driver said that at
one point, he ran out of money to buy drugs. In order to obtain crack
cocaine, he agreed to give up the keys to his truck to another crack addict
and a drug dealer. This resulted in his load of Honda lawnmowers being stolen.
Drug and alcohol abuse estimated to be a factor in 10 percent of truck
The news report stated that the federal government no longer maintains
data on how often drugs or alcohol are a factor in truck accidents. However,
an attorney interviewed for the news story estimated that drugs or alcohol
are a factor in approximately 10 percent of truck accidents.
Drug and alcohol abuse likely more prevalent than current estimates.
In many of these cases the driver exhibited a pattern of abusing drugs
or alcohol while operating their truck before the accident occurred. While
the industry standard requires random testing of 50 percent of a trucking
company’s driver’s, this is not always effective.
Many drivers have several consecutive days off of work. As a result, they
have several days to clear their system of drugs before reporting to work
and being subject to a random drug test.
In addition, federal investigations have revealed that it is very easy
for truck drivers to falsify drug tests. Nearly three fourths of testing
centers are not equipped with the security measures necessary to protect
against tampering with drug test results.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident where the drive
may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should contact
an attorney immediately.