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FMCSA Recommends New Regulations for Truckers Taking Prescription Drugs

Columbus, OH-In a round of safety recommendations that are likely to ruffle the feathers of the trucking industry, doctors advising the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration urged the agency to keep truck drivers taking narcotic prescriptions off the roads.

The latest recommendations is one among several to emerge from the FMCSA, as the agency sets its priorities for 2015 and could mean sweeping changes for the trucking industry.

Currently, truck drivers who take prescription narcotics are allowed to drive as long as they are being monitored by a physician, but the FMCSA Medical Review Board believes these drugs often used to treat pain or attention deficit disorder are posing a danger on the nation’s roads.

In a study conducted by the FMCSA medical board found that the use of opioids, a common ingredient in pain killers, and stimulants used treat ADHD disorders increase crash risk among the drivers taking these drugs.

According to the report, opioid use affects a driver’s abilities by causing drowsiness, slowing reaction times. Overtime as use continues, a truck driver can build up a tolerance and require higher and higher doses to get the pain relieving effects. In the report the panel wrote they believe “conditions requiring chronic opioid treatment may be incompatible with the routine successful completion of driving tasks.” The crash risk in regards to opioid use increased as the driver’s dosage increased.

As for stimulants, the panel didn’t see any increase in crash risk after taking the prescription, the increased risk came as the drug waned an individual’s system. The panel suggested that drivers taking prescriptions for ADHD need to be monitored closely.

The panel recommended further studies about the effects of prescription drugs for commercial truck drivers, but urged the FMCSA to tighten up the rules pertaining to prescription drugs. The medical panel, according to trucking info recommended that doctors give truck drivers seeking medical clearance a questionnaire about their prescription drug use. This raises concerns in the trucking industry that doctors will err on the side of caution, and more and more truck drivers may be disqualified from driving because of their prescription drugs. Or, the industry says, truckers will deny themselves medications they need so they can continue to work.

In fairness intoxicated driving is relatively rare among truck drivers. Data from the NHTSA indicates that less than one percent of truck accidents are caused by an intoxicated driver, but when it happens it can have devastating consequences for the driver and their victims.

Operating a large truck under the influence of any substance whether it is alcohol, marijuana or stimulants is strictly forbidden by law and not only is the truck liable if there are any resulting injuries, but the trucking accident they work for and the truck owner can be held accountable for the accident.

If you have been injured by an intoxicated truck driver, it is critical you call an Ohio truck accident attorney immediately so they can begin gather evidence to bolster your injury claim. They will do work hard on your case to ensure the responsible parties pay for causing harm to you or your loved one.

http://mcsac.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/Oct2014/MEP%20Report%20Draft_22%20August%202014(c).pdf