Mental Health Issues in Truck Drivers Can Be Dangerous
Every day, truck drivers get behind the wheels of large, heavy commercial tractor-trailers and venture out on the highways along with small passenger vehicles and motorcycles. In the event of a collision, these large vehicles can cause devastating damage and injury to motorists. Because of the risks of truck accidents, it is imperative that commercial drivers are in a proper mental state at all times they are operating their trucks.
Unfortunately, numerous truck drivers suffer from mental conditions and continue to drive their trucks without reporting these issues. Even more dangerously, many drivers attempt to self-medicate with illegal substances to try to remain mentally stable, which generally only makes the situation worse. If a driver causes an accident because they do not have all of their mental faculties, all injured victims deserve to recover the maximum amount possible for their losses. If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident, call one of the skilled truck accident attorneys at the Dolman Law Group as soon as you can.
Common types of mental health problems in drivers
Truck drivers spend long hours in an isolated truck cab on monotonous highway routes. It is, therefore, no surprise that many drivers tend to develop problems with their emotional and mental health. One study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that a significant number of commercial truck drivers suffer from the following types of conditions:
– Chronic loneliness
– Chronic sleep disturbances
– Other emotional issues
All of these can cloud a truck driver’s judgment, result in lack of focus, cause poor or reckless decision-making, lead to substance abuse issues, and other factors that can lead to serious collisions.
Medical requirements do not only relate to physical health
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that a driver be in adequate health before receiving or renewing a commercial driver’s license. In conducting medical examinations of potential drivers, the medical examiners are expected to keep in mind the rigorous mental demands of driving a large truck as well as the physical demands. In order for the examiner to sign off on a driver’s health, they must be mentally capable and be free of any psychiatric or mental conditions that may hinder their ability to safely operate the truck. They also must not be taking any medications that may impair their faculties and mental state while driving.
If a truck driver knows that they are suffering from mental issues, they should always report these issues to their employer and seek the necessary treatment to continue safely driving a commercial truck. Similarly, if a truck company suspects that a driver is having mental or emotional problems, they should require the driver to undergo an evaluation and any recommended course of treatment in order to continue driving. If either a driver or trucking company allows operation of a truck by a mentally or emotionally unstable individual, they should be held responsible for any subsequent accidents and injuries that occur.
Self-medication for emotional issues
Another danger of untreated mental or emotional problems in truck drivers is that they might try to self-medicate by using alcohol or illegal drugs such as marijuana. Many drivers may use such substances to calm their anxiety or to reduce depression and loneliness symptoms on long driving shifts. However, using any type of psychoactive substance can substantially impair judgment and driving ability and often leads to devastating collisions. In addition to facing possible criminal penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs,3 impaired truck drivers should be held liable for any injuries or losses they caused.
Call a truck accident lawyer at the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida today
All truck drivers should ensure they are in proper physical and mental health before they get behind the wheel. If they cause injuries due to negligently driving with mental or emotional problems, the truck accident attorneys at the Dolman Law Group will work to protect the legal rights of any accident victims. If you have sustained injuries, call our Clearwater office today at 727-451-6900 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our skilled legal team today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756