Hurt by a Truck Driver on Drugs?


Did a truck driver on drugs cause your traffic accident? Don’t face this situation alone. Contact the experienced truck accident attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm for a free case review. Our legal team is 400 strong and has recovered over $1 billion for clients. For over 15 years, we’ve fought to get injured victims and families the justice and compensation they deserve. 

Our Attorneys Demand Justice When a Drug-Impaired Trucker Hurts You

If you suffer injuries in a crash caused by a drug-impaired truck driver, you have several rights to help you seek compensation for your injuries and damages. Here are some of your rights if a drug-impaired truck driver injures you:

  • Medical care costs: You can receive necessary medical care for your injuries, regardless of who caused the accident. You should seek medical attention immediately after the accident and follow your doctor’s orders for treatment and recovery.
  • Filing a personal injury claim: You can file a lawsuit against the truck driver, the trucking company, or any other entities that may be liable for your injuries and damages. Our semi-truck accident lawyers can help you assess your case, gather evidence, and seek compensation for your damages.
  • Legal representation: You can hire an attorney for your personal injury claim. An experienced truck crash attorney can assist you with the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for your rights and interests.
  • The right to a fair settlement: You have the right to fair compensation that compensates you for your injuries and damages. A truck crash law firm can help you assess how much your truck accident case is worth to reach a fair settlement.
  • Right to trial: If negotiations with the insurer are unsuccessful, you can take your case to court and have a judge or jury determine the outcome of your case.

Don’t Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit Against a Drug-Impaired Truck Driver

Victims of truck accidents have a specific time limit for filing a lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations. Each state has a unique statute of limitations that must be followed when filing a claim. Additionally, if you fail to file your claim within the mandated period, you will likely be unable to pursue recovery for any damages.

California Truck Accident Statute of Limitations

Generally, individuals who are injured in truck crashes in California must file their claim within two (2) years of the date of the accident. The two-year period applies to both personal injury and wrongful death claims. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if a government agency is responsible for the accident, individuals must file within six months of the incident [1].

In certain cases, the two-year limitation period may be extended. For example, an extension may be granted if the plaintiff was a minor at the time of the accident. In these situations, the statute of limitations will not begin to run until the minor turns 18. Similarly, in cases where a plaintiff is mentally incapacitated or unable to manage their own affairs due to physical impairment or mental illness, the statute of limitations may be extended.

Who Is Liable for Damage If a Truck Driver Is Drug-Impaired?

If a truck driver is drug-impaired and causes an accident, liability for damages will depend on several factors, including the cause, the nature and extent of the harm, and the parties involved. 

Here are some parties who may be liable:

  • The truck driver: Truckers can be liable for damages if they were driving under the influence of drugs when the accident happened. Their employer usually provides insurance coverage. However, independent truckers may carry their insurance. 
  • Trucking company: If a truck driver operates a commercial vehicle while impaired, the company may also be liable for damages. Employers are required to comply with federal regulations that prohibit drivers from driving vehicles while impaired, and they may be held responsible for the actions of their employees.
  • Cargo owner: If the cargo the trucker is hauling is hazardous or flammable and causes additional damage or injuries in an accident, the load owner may also be liable for damages.
  • Other drivers or parties: Depending on the circumstances of the accident, other drivers or parties may also be liable for damages. For example, if another driver was also negligent and contributed to the accident, they may be responsible for their share of the injuries and other damages.

Truckers Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

A truck driver on drugs refers to a situation where a trucker operates a vehicle under the influence of substances, which can impair their driving abilities and increase the risk of accidents. This risky behavior can include illegal drugs, prescriptions or over-the-counter medications that can cause drowsiness or impair cognitive function. 

Driving while impaired is a severe violation of federal regulations and can result in criminal charges, liability for accidents, loss of license, and other consequences. Trucking companies need CDL driver drug and alcohol policies to prevent truckers from operating vehicles while impaired.

Truck driver driving

Truck Driver Drugs That Can Impair Cognitive Abilities

Safe driving is essential for anyone operating a motor vehicle, primarily commercial truck drivers. The Federal Motor Car Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the use of drugs and alcohol by commercial drivers to ensure public safety [2]. The FMCSA prohibits commercial drivers from operating a vehicle while taking illegal and legal drugs that can impair driving abilities.

Here are some details on the types of drugs that can impair driving abilities:

  • Illegal drugs: These drugs are prohibited by law, such as cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and PCP. They can cause a variety of impairments, including decreased coordination, slower reaction times, impaired judgment, and altered perception. Even small doses of these drugs can significantly affect a driver’s ability to react quickly to unexpected events on the road. Drivers who use illegal drugs may also exhibit risky behaviors, such as speeding, tailgating, and weaving in and out of traffic [3].
  • Legal drugs: Legal drugs purchased with a prescription or over-the-counter may cause drowsiness or impair cognitive function, affecting driving ability. These drugs include prescription medications such as opioids, sedatives, and tranquilizers, as well as over-the-counter meds such as antihistamines, cough suppressants, and some sleep aids. Using some legal drugs can cause side effects such as dizziness, blurred vision, confusion, and fatigue, which can increase the risk of accidents on the road.

Is It Safe to Take Legal Drugs and Drive?

Although some drugs are legal, they can still lead to impaired driving and potentially fatal accidents.[4] The truck driver is responsible for ensuring they are fit to operate a vehicle before getting behind the wheel.

If drivers take medication, they should consult their doctor or pharmacist to determine if the drug may cause impairment or affect their driving ability. In some cases, a driver may need to wait until the effects of the drug have worn off before operating a vehicle.

Drivers and their employers must comply with federal regulations and ensure that drugs do not impair a trucker’s ability to operate a commercial vehicle safely.

Penalties When a Trucker Drives Impaired

When a trucker drives impaired, they can face severe penalties that can impact their career, finances, and personal life. Some potential penalties that truckers may encounter when driving impaired are [5]:

  • Criminal charges: A trucker driving while impaired may face criminal charges that could result in jail time and fines. These charges could remain on their criminal record and affect their future employment prospects.
  • Suspension or revocation of commercial driver’s license: The DMV may suspend or revoke a trucker’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) if they are guilty of impaired driving. This action can prevent them from operating a commercial vehicle and can impact their ability to earn a living.
  • Commercial DUI law in California: Under vehicle code 23152 (d), the DUI limit for drivers with a CDL license is 0.04 percent. [6] A trucker can spend up to one year in jail for an initial driving while impaired charge and lose their CDL license for at least one year. After the second conviction, the CDL-licensed driver will lose their license permanently. The court may also order fines of $350 to $1,000 and attendance at DUI school for three to 36 months. If the DUI causes injury or death, the CDL license holder may incur a felony charge. 
  • Loss of employment: Without a CDL license, a trucker may lose their job as a commercial driver. Employers must comply with federal regulations prohibiting drivers from operating vehicles while impaired, and they may terminate a driver’s employment if they violate these regulations. 
  • Civil liability: If a trucker causes an accident while driving impaired, they may be held liable for any injuries or damages that result. This action can result in significant financial penalties.
  • Increased insurance rates: Insurance rates for truckers driving impaired can increase. The increased rate can make it more difficult and expensive for them to obtain insurance coverage in the future.
  • Trucking company responsibility: Employers are also responsible for promoting safe driving practices and complying with federal regulations prohibiting drivers from operating vehicles while impaired.

Do Truck Drivers Get Drug Tested?

Truck drivers are subject to substance testing as part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) drug and alcohol program.[7] This program requires commercial drivers, including truckers, to undergo drug and alcohol testing in various circumstances, including pre-employment, post-accident, random, and reasonable suspicion checks.

Drug testing typically includes screening for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opioids, and PCP. These drug tests are mandatory for all truck drivers who operate vehicles with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more, carry hazardous materials, or transport more than sixteen passengers. It’s worth noting that some trucking companies may have additional drug testing policies that go beyond the DOT’s regulations.

How to Report a Truck Driver on Drugs

If you suspect a truck driver is under the influence of drugs, you must report it immediately to the appropriate authorities to prevent potential accidents or harm. To report a truck driver on drugs [8]:

  • Call 911: If you witness a truck driver exhibiting signs of drug use while driving, call 911 immediately to report the situation to the police.
  • Collect Information: Try to gather as much information as you can about the truck driver, including the license plate number, make and model of the vehicle, and any identifying information such as company logos or other markings.
  • Contact the trucking company: If you can identify the company the driver works for, contact them to report the incident. They may be able to take immediate action to address the situation and remove the driver from the road.
  • Reach out to FMCSA: The FMCSA is responsible for regulating the trucking industry, and they have a hotline for reporting unsafe driving behaviors, including drug use. You can contact them at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) to report the incident.

Frequently Asked Questions for Truck Driving on Drugs

How can I file a claim for damages because of an impaired truck driver?

Filing this is similar to any other personal injury claim. Contact the experienced truck accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm and schedule a free case review. This is your chance to confidentially tell your important story, get comfortable with our process, and get your questions answered. We’ll help you determine the strength of your truck accident injury case. 

How much does it cost to file a personal injury claim?

Personal injury claims fall under contingency fees. Billing with Wilshire Law Firm on a contingency basis means that you pay no fees unless you win.

Free Case Review with a Lawyer for Injuries from Trucker Drivers on Drugs

The experienced team of more than 50 attorneys and 250 team members at Wilshire Law Firm has the resources and know-how to take on insurance companies and major corporations on your behalf. Our truck accident attorneys can help when a trucker driving on drugs harms you or your loved ones.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
By submitting this form, you agree to receive telephone calls and text messages at anytime, which include hours outside of business hours (8:00 a.m. PST - 9:00 p.m. PST). This is so that we may reach you as soon as possible in order to consult on your potential case.



Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
By submitting this form, you agree to receive telephone calls and text messages at anytime, which include hours outside of business hours (8:00 a.m. PST - 9:00 p.m. PST). This is so that we may reach you as soon as possible in order to consult on your potential case.