Can Clarksburg truck drivers take drugs to stay awake while on duty?

As it currently stands, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not regulate truck drivers’ use of over-the-counter stimulant supplements. However, the agency does regulate the number of consecutive hours that truck drivers can work. If a driver feels the need to take drugs to stay awake, he may have been on the road too long and that is illegal.

Truck Drivers and Stimulants

Many in the truck driving industry use stimulants like caffeine pills and more. Truck drivers cite several benefits of taking stimulants. Stimulants can reduce sleepiness, as well as improve their reaction time and attention when driving. However, there are several downsides, as well. 

Citing previous research, an article in the American Journal of Epidemiology explains that stimulant supplements can have the following negative repercussions for truck drivers.

  • Driving impairments such as risky behavior
  • Increased sleepiness as a result of withdrawal from stimulants
  • Overall negative effects from taking high doses, including confused speech, rapid pulse, agitation, paranoia, and an aggressive attitude

The article reports an association between adverse outcomes like poor compliance with road rules, working hours rules, and an increased risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. 

A Washington State Toxicology Lab study published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences noted that among drivers on stimulants, “[t]ypical driving behaviors included drifting out of the lane of travel, erratic driving, weaving, speeding, drifting off the road, and high speed collisions.”

Injured in a truck accident? Consult our attorneys in Clarksburg.

If you or your loved one were involved in a truck accident and you believe the truck driver was under the influence of some type of stimulant, you might be able to file an injury or wrongful death claim against the trucking company. To discuss your legal options with an attorney in Clarksburg, Contact the Miley Legal Group at 304-931-4088 for a free consultation.

Tim Miley
Injury Lawyer, Author, & Owner of The Miley Legal Group