The more big rigs there are on the highways, the greater the chances for a sharp rise in 18-wheeler accidents.
Despite more and better training, trucking companies are still facing an increase in the number of accidents involving their vehicles. “The media used to be rife with reports about tired truckers losing control of their rigs and causing a massive fatal accident. It seems like these days that it’s not tired truckers that are the problem (although it still remains a crash factor), but prescription drugs,” indicated Jack Zinda, a Texas Super Lawyer’s Rising Star, a partner at the law firm of Heselmeyer Zinda PLLC, Austin.
Out of the roughly 141,000 big rig crashes a year, roughly 77,000 were directly attributable to the driver, and it wasn’t just because they were asleep at the wheel either. The fact of the matter is that over 26% of the accidents were as a direct result of the use of prescription drugs, not use of over the counter drugs, although that ranked at 18%.
Other factors that figure into big rig crashes are speeding, which came in at 23%, not being familiar with the road travelled (22%), poor surveillance (14%), being over tired ranked at 13%, employing an illegal maneuver was 9%, an outside distraction at 8%, inadequate evasive action at 7% and aggressive driving (7%). So much for the folklore of the highways about truckers with road rage aiming their huge machines down the middle of the road and daring everyone to get out of their way, or else.
It may be just a small sinus congestion pill, but the results of taking it ended up causing a severe crash. “Driver education about mixing prescription drugs with long distance driving is critical,” commented Zinda. It’s up to the trucking industry to take that bull by the horns and ensure that all 18-wheeler drivers understand the ramifications of driving while under the influence of prescription drugs.
“While most truckers know and agree that they should not drive while under the influence of alcohol or an illegal drug, many seem to think that because the drug is prescribed, that makes it acceptable. It doesn’t and the consequences may be worse than anything they expected,” added Jack Zinda, Texas Super Lawyer’s Rising Star, a partner at the firm of Heselmeyer Zinda PLLC, Austin.
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