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Drug Use and Truck Drivers: 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyers in New Mexico

Understanding Drug Use and Truck Drivers from Our New Mexico 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyers in New Mexico

Drug use and truck drivers causing accidents is a problem due to the nature of their job.  Truck drivers are paid by the mile and are often expected to drive 100,000 to 150,000 miles a year.  That is about 2,500 miles a week which is a significant distance.  This is particularly considering that truck drivers have limited hours of service regulations which prohibit more than 60 hours of on-duty time (driving) during any consecutive seven days, or 70 hours during any eight consecutive day period.  That means truckers generally have to drive over 40 miles per hour in order to hit their quota if they do not intend to take any time off during the year for vacation, sick time, or family time.  It is also important to realize that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hours of service regulations also require trucks to take a mandatory 34 hour rest back before restarting a seven or eight day period, meaning that truck drivers really have even less time to make a delivery.  

Our 18 wheeler accident lawyers in New Mexico see far too much of drug use amongst truck drivers.  And this is for many reasons related to the stress of the job and the need to consume more hours, cover more hours, and earn more money for their family.  In fact, a study of truck drivers found that overall drug use was “high”—up to 30%—and the drugs of choice were amphetamines and cocaine.  Both of these drugs are used to stimulate a truck driver to help keep him or her awake, and therefore able to drive longer hours to earn more money.  However, these drugs are not only illegal to take but also extra illegal behind the wheel.

Federal Regulations Prohibit Any Drug Use For Truck Drivers

The FMCSA regulations are the minimum requirements for all truck drivers and trucking companies, no matter what state the truck driver is in, going to, or from.  These regulations apply in addition to New Mexico statutory law (legislative-made law) and New Mexico common law (judge-made law).

Drug and other substances is governed by 49 CFR section 392.4, and prohibits any driver on duty from possessing, using, or reign under the influence a wide range of drugs including amphetamines or any other substance which renders the driver incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle like cocaine.

These drugs and narcotics are types commonly used by truck drivers to stay awake so they can driver longer hours, but it also means that they are more likely to result in 18 wheeler accident cases for our lawyers in New Mexico to handle for injured victims and damaged families.  

Regulatory Violations are Evidence of Negligence

When a statute or regulation is meant to protect a certain class of persons from a certain type of harm, if a defendant violations that statute or regulation and cases harm to that person it can result in an automatic finding against the defendant.  This is known as the doctrine of negligence per se and is a very important tool for a victim to use.

When that is a statute, like New Mexico law, it is an automatic finding of liability.  This means a victim will only have to establish causation and damages.  This is the most powerful use of the doctrine of negligence per se and it can be very effective.

But when that is a regulation, like the FMCSA regulations prohibiting the drug use for truck drivers, that is not automatic liability.  Rather, it is only evidence of negligence. But this is still a very strong piece of evidence of negligence that can be used to help prove liability.  Often times it is indeed very successful in front of a jury and roughly functions in the same manner as a statute to a lay jury.

Thus, it is important to have an experienced 18 wheeler accident lawyer who knows how to use this section of law to help prove liability through statutory and regulatory violations.  

Injured in an 18 Wheeler Wreck Due to Drug Use and Truck Drivers?  We Can Help

The Caruso Law Offices, P.C. prides itself on representing victims of serious or catastrophic trucking accidents who have been harmed by negligent or reckless truck drivers or trucking companies.  We offer free consultations and only get paid if we recover compensation for you in a lawsuit.  We also only get paid a percentage of that recovery plus our costs and disbursements. This means that victims can rest assured knowing they will not owe any out-of-pocket legal fees or expenses with our law firm.  Call to schedule a FREE consultation with our experienced New Mexico 18 wheeler accident lawyer by dialing (505) 883-5000.

We handle causes throughout New Mexico, including Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Roswell, Cuervo, Rio Rancho, Clovis, Farmington, Hobbs, Albuquerque where our office is located, and anywhere else throughout New Mexico.  Please call to schedule for FREE appointment by dialing (505) 883-5000 or contact us through our website’s easy to use and convenient contact box available here.