Personal Injury

Study: Cocaine Abuse by Truck Drivers May Be Underreported

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Texas truck accident attorneys discuss the importance of drug testing

A startling new report that claims higher than expected rates of cocaine and opioid use among truck drivers is renewing calls for hair follicle drug testing in the trucking industry.

Impaired truckers increase the risk for truck accident fatalities and serious injuries such as paralysis, brain damage, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and amputation.

Communities with heavily-traveled trucking routes - like those in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Fort Worth - are at an even higher risk. This region is interconnected by busy highways, including I-45, I-10, and I-35.

Underreported drug use?

The University of Arkansas-led study found that the federal Department of Transportation is likely underreporting hard drug use among truckers. This is because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse reports urine tests but not hair drug tests.

Hair follicle testing is considered by many to provide more useful information than urine analysis. Hair tests may deliver information about long-range drug use.

Having a history would be useful because there are some drugs that stop being detectable in urine just 24 hours after consumption. Most opioids and cocaine will be undetectable to a urine drug test between 24 and 72 hours.

'60,000 failed tests'

The new study was funded, at least in part, by the Trucking Alliance, which conducts follicle drug tests as a condition of employment.

If the government made hair-follicle drug testing standards, the impact could be immense. As we noted earlier, researchers investigated what would happen if truckers had to pass a follicle drug test as a condition of employment.

For example, if follicle testing had been an employment standard in 2020, almost 60,000 truck drivers would not have been hired, the study concludes.

Texas fatal truck accident trends

The number of fatal truck accidents in Texas has shot up dramatically - 105 percent - since 2009 when there were 318 such deaths.

In 2019, more than 650 people died in head-on collisions, rollovers, rear-end accidents, and other types of crashes involving large and commercial trucks.

Over the same time period, fatal tractor-trailer and other large truck accidents went up by 48 percent.

Our law firm holds negligent truckers accountable

Safely operating a large tractor-trailer requires a lot of skill, precision, and attentiveness. When truckers are impaired by alcohol or drugs such as cocaine, it severely impacts their driving and puts others at risk of being injured in a devastating truck accident. That's why commercial truck drivers are held to such a high standard.

If you were injured or a loved one died in a truck accident caused by an impaired driver, you deserve justice and financial compensation for your losses. Our attorneys know how to investigate to find evidence of driver impairment, and we know what it takes to win tough cases. Let us put our knowledge, experience, and resources to work for you.

To find out how an experienced Texas truck accident lawyer can help with your potential legal case, schedule a free and confidential case evaluation with our law firm. There are no obligations, and we take truck accident cases on contingency. That means no upfront money is required, and you pay nothing unless we win your case. Contact us today to learn more. Our offices are located in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

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