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Michigan Truck Accidents: Impaired Truck Drivers

November 15, 2007 by Steven M. Gursten

Lawyers who litigate serious truck accident injury cases already know how common it is for drugs used by truck drivers to play a role in causing or contributing to many truck accident injury and death cases every year. Last year, the Department of Transportation reported that roughly 30,000 truck drivers tested positive for drug use. A recent undercover investigation suggests the problem of truck drivers using drugs and causing serious truck accidents is actually far worse then previously thought. The investigation shows a widespread failure by drug testing facilities, the sites that test and screen truck drivers. These facilities consistently failed to use strict guidelines in testing truck drivers, leaving industry experts to wonder just how many more impaired truck drivers there now are on Michigan roads.

Recently, undercover federal investigators associated with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) used fake truck driver licenses to gain access to over 20 drug testing sites across the country. In over 75 percent of these sites, the federal investigators found easy access to agents that could be used to dilute the test taker’s urine specimen. The most common of these included running water, soap, and air freshener. While these common household items may not seem very serious to us, the chemical compounds in these items have a severe adulterating effect on drug testing devices. This is also widely known in some professions, such as trucking, where drivers have regular drug and chemical screening.

What is even more alarming is that the investigators were also able to purchase drug masking products over the internet, sneak them into the testing area, and mix the chemical with their specimens without being caught by site personnel.
Lawyers handling serious truck accident injury and death cases in Michigan may now want to include legal discovery into the facility where the negligent truck driver who caused the accident was screened.

The lesson seems to be that there are a lot more impaired truck drivers on the road causing accidents than the 30,000 drivers that the Department of Transportation reports each year.

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