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Feds: Marijuana shows up most often in truck driver drug tests

Chicago truck accident attorneys

Earlier this year, marijuana became legal in the state of Illinois. We previously discussed the impact marijuana legalization can have on road safety.

The danger of driving high doesn't only apply to passenger car drivers. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) first-ever Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse report, there may be a major threat of truckers driving under the influence of marijuana.

The report provides real-time testing data for truck drivers who fail drug tests. Marijuana effects the brain and body almost the same way as alcohol does. It can impact physical coordination, as well as result in poor judgment, loss of control and delayed reaction time.

It's bad enough when passenger car drivers get behind the wheel while high. It can be far more dangerous when truck drivers do it. That's because large commercial trucks are much larger and heavier than most other vehicles. For that reason alone, a negligent truck driver can cause a major catastrophe that can injure or kill multiple road users.

How many truck drivers test positive for marijuana?

The FMCSA's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse report compiled drug test data for truck drivers from September 2019 to May 2020. The report found that the most common substance found in truck driver drug tests was marijuana.

The report found that approximately 19,849 truck drivers had at least one violation resulting from testing. Multiple substances were also found in some drivers' tests, bringing the total of identified substances to 21,156. Here are the leading substances found in the drug tests:

  • Marijuana — 10,388
  • Cocaine — 3,192
  • Methamphetamine— 2,184

Those who tested positive for a substance were temporarily removed from service until they could complete a return-to-duty process. At the time the report was released, there were 15,682 truck drivers who hadn't started the process.

It is possible that some of the drivers who tested positive for marijuana previously used CBD products. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, many of these products contain THC, which can show up on a test.

Amber Schweer is the supervisor of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. She believe that the legalization of cannabis products can make it more likely that marijuana will show up on truck driver drug tests.

“There are so many companies that claim you won’t test positive using their product when in reality they cannot guarantee that,” said Schweer. “Drivers are not heeding the warnings that are put out there and, unfortunately, are facing expensive and detrimental consequences to their career.”

What are my legal options if I was injured in a crash with a high truck driver?

If you were injured in a crash with a truck driver who was under the influence of marijuana, get an experienced Chicago truck accident attorney on your side who you can trust. The legal team at Coplan + Crane will work tirelessly to investigate the truck driver who hit you and the company he or she works for. We will also take on the trucking company's insurance provider and fight for fair and complete compensation for your losses.

When pursuing a truck accident claim, never go it alone. Contact our law firm to find out how we can help you. We offer free and confidential case evaluations.

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