Truck Driver May Face Trial for DUI Crash in Pennsylvania

A truck driver from New England who was driving in Indiana, Pennsylvania on November 13 admitted he had smoked marijuana and taken heroin before a crash with several vehicles on Route 22.

The truck driver appeared in court on Jan. 5, and did not challenge state police testimony that he was driving a tractor trailer that November evening loaded with scrap metal. He drove off the road and tipped over, which led to seven other vehicles suffering serious damages. Two drivers also suffered minor injuries in the truck accident. One of the drivers was trapped in the wreck of his car and had to be taken to the hospital for his injuries and emotional trauma.

The truck driver has been free on $25,000 bond as he is waiting for his court date. He has been charged in Indiana with driving under the influence, recklessly endangering another person, possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, all misdemeanors, and six summary traffic violations.

Our View

Many tractor trailer drivers live rather solitary lives, and it is not unusual for some of the to abuse drugs and alcohol as they are driving. A recent study found that truckers around the world commonly use a variety of mind altering substances while they are driving. This is often because of the long hours on the road and the long time that they spend away from home and family. The most popular drugs among truckers that we have seen as personal injury attorneys in Virginia are cocaine and amphetamines. These drugs are stimulants and can help drivers to stay awake for many hours. Of course, using illegal drugs while operating a tractor trailer is illegal and highly dangerous. Such illegal behavior often leads to serious and fatal truck crashes, as well as personal injury lawsuits in the millions of dollars.

The side effects of taking drugs while driving a truck are very serious, and can include agitation, hypertension, hallucinations, fatigue, poor judgment and reduced coordination.

Half of the drivers surveyed in the aforementioned study admitted to drinking alcohol while driving a truck. Approximately 30% of truck drivers surveyed admitted they had taken amphetamines while driving. Other studies have found that as many as 91% of truckers surveyed admitted to drinking alcohol on the job and 82% took amphetamines.

Our Virginia tractor trailer accident attorneys wish to remind truckers that drinking or taking drugs while driving is illegal and dangerous, and can result in terrible accidents and expensive lawsuits. It is never worth it to engage in these illegal behaviors while driving a big rig.