Truck Driver Drug and Alcohol Use in Phoenix

According to a federal study, roughly 29,000 large truck crashes result from impaired driving. Although truck drivers must pass random drug and alcohol tests, some drivers manage to beat the system. Additionally, many truck accidents result from impairment caused by prescription medications rather than alcohol or illegal drug use.

Trucking companies can be vicariously liable for the actions of employed truck drivers. They are also liable for failing to test for truck driver drug and alcohol use in Phoenix, AZ. Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers can help you prove a trucking company’s liability for an intoxicated driving crash caused by a trucker.

Contact our Phoenix personal injury attorneys for a free initial consultation to discuss your truck accident claim.

How Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Truck Accident Caused By Drug or Alcohol Use in Phoenix, AZ

How Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Truck Accident Caused By Drug or Alcohol Use in Phoenix, AZ

Since 2011, Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers has represented injured clients in Phoenix, Arizona, against those responsible for their injuries. Our Phoenix truck accident lawyers have over 55 years of combined legal experience standing up to trucking companies and their insurers.

If someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions injure you, our firm provides the following legal services:

  • Advice so you understand your legal rights and options
  • An investigation to gather evidence for your case
  • An insurance claim and aggressive negotiations to try to settle it
  • A lawsuit against the at-fault party and insurer if they refuse to settle

A semi-truck can cause catastrophic injuries when it hits a smaller passenger vehicle. Contact our Phoenix personal injury lawyers for a free consultation to learn how we can help you pursue compensation under Arizona law.

How Many Truck Accidents Involve Drug or Alcohol Use?

Arizona has an impaired driving problem. According to the Crash Facts report, there were almost 5,400 drug or alcohol-related crashes in Arizona in 2022. This number included 164 fatal collisions.

When reporting these crashes, the state included a breakdown by vehicle type. 

The Crash Facts report listed the following commercial vehicles involved in drunk and drug-impaired driving crashes:

  • Seven semi-trucks with or without trailers
  • 176 other truck configurations, such as box trucks
  • One tanker truck
  • One bus

Large vehicles were only involved in a small percentage of the state’s intoxicated driving crashes. However, because of their size and potentially hazardous cargo, these vehicles can cause catastrophic injuries to multiple victims in a single impaired driving accident.

Drug and Alcohol Use By Truck Drivers

Trucking companies must test truck drivers for drugs and alcohol at several points before and during employment, including the following circumstances:

  • Before hiring
  • Randomly
  • After a crash
  • Upon reasonable suspicion
  • When returning from a drug or alcohol suspension

This testing program is fairly effective. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that about 3% of recent large truck collisions resulted from alcohol or illegal drug use. While this number might seem small, it still means that intoxicated truck drivers cause about 4,000 truck crashes across the U.S. annually.

A far greater problem came from substances that could not be detected on drug or alcohol tests. Prescription and over-the-counter medication use accounted for 17% or roughly 25,000 truck crashes. While the FMCSA lists some medications that automatically disqualify drivers from operating a commercial truck, this list is far from comprehensive.

Specifically, a doctor cannot clear truck drivers for work if they take any of the following medications:

  • Opiates
  • Opium derivatives
  • Synthetic opiates, particularly fentanyl
  • Hallucinogens, including THC in cannabis
  • Depressants
  • Stimulants

A doctor might also withhold medical clearance if a drug produces any effect that impairs the driver’s ability to drive. Without medical clearance, a driver cannot legally operate a large truck even if they pass a drug and alcohol test.

Effects of Drugs and Alcohol on Drivers

Whether they are legal or illegal, substances can affect a truck driver physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

Some of these effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Poor judgment
  • Diminished reflexes
  • Inability to measure speed or distance
  • Reduced motor control

Some common intoxicated driving crash scenarios include:

  • Sideswipe collisions due to poor vehicle control
  • Intersection crashes when they fail to recognize changing traffic lights
  • Speeding collisions due to a lack of speed recognition
  • Head-on collisions when drivers go the wrong way on a ramp or highway
  • Rear-end crashes from a failure to react to slowing or stopped traffic

When truck drivers cause crashes, their employer may bear vicarious liability for any injuries and property damage they cause. Trucking companies can also be held responsible for their negligent acts in testing, hiring, and retaining drivers with drug or alcohol issues.

For example, suppose that a prudent employer developed a reasonable suspicion about a driver due to odd behavior and missed work. If the trucking company failed to follow up on that suspicion by conducting a drug and alcohol test, it might be liable for any resulting intoxicated driving crashes.

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Phoenix Truck Wreck Lawyer To Discuss Your Case

Trucking companies and their insurers have the resources to fight your accident claim. Contact Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss how we can help you stand up to these corporations for fair compensation.