The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented hours-of-service regulations that require truck drivers to take a break after driving a certain number of hours. The hours-of-service regulation is meant to reduce the number of drowsy truckers on the road and, in so doing, enhance road safety.
Unfortunately, however, some truck drivers violate the hours-of-service regulations, sometimes due to pressure from their employers or due to their own financial incentives. To that end, some truck drivers take over-the-counter (OTC) medication to help them stay awake while driving for long hours. They may take OTC medication for certain ailments without realizing the potential negative effects this may have on their driving ability.
Certain medications can have serious negative effects on truck drivers’ health and alertness. Below, we discuss some of these negative effects and their potential consequences.
Medication Puts Drivers Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of any substance--whether it be alcohol or drugs--puts the truck driver and other motorists on the road at risk. While it is widely known that driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal and dangerous, not as many people fully understand the potential negative consequences of driving under the influence of drugs.
Antidepressants, opioids, and other drugs (prescription or OTC) may cause driver impairment. Additionally, drugs that may seem “benign,” such as cold and allergy medication and other OTC medication, can cause drowsiness, nausea, and blurred vision.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that the following drugs could make it dangerous for truckers to drive:
- Opioid pain relievers
- Prescription drugs for anxiety or depression
- Anti-seizure drugs
- Anti-psychotic drugs
- Products containing codeine
- Medicines that prevent or treat motion sickness
- Diet pills, “stay awake” drugs, and other stimulants (caffeine, ephedrine, etc.)
We understand that some truckers have medical conditions that require medication. However, it’s important for truckers to disclose this information to their employer so a solution can be reached that keeps truckers healthy and safe on the road.
Injured in a Truck Accident? Contact Us Today
If you have been injured in a truck accident caused by a drowsy trucker, our Los Angeles trial attorneys are here to help. We are well-versed in this area of the law, and we have helped countless clients recover the compensation they deserve after a devastating truck accident.
Call Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP at (866) 634-4525 to schedule a free consultation.