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 accidents.
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.