While most people automatically assume that impaired driving only refers to drugs or alcohol, prescription medication can also lead to severe changes in perception and reaction time. Truck drivers are encouraged to thoroughly understand the side-effects of their medication and take whatever steps are necessary to guarantee safe travels.

Some medications are so powerful – both prescription and over the counter – that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has stated that truck drivers are prohibited from taking them before getting on the road. In addition to anything listed on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) schedule of controlled substances, a driver cannot take a prescription medication without a valid prescription from a licensed practitioner.

Medications or substances that can disqualify a commercial motor vehicle driver can include:

  • Anti-seizure medication
  • Methadone
  • Stimulants
  • Amphetamines
  • Opiates
  • Opium derivatives

While these medications might be used to treat a medical condition or chronic pain, they can endanger drivers and pedestrians. Serious side effects can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sudden fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Delayed reaction times

Truck drivers are held to a higher standard in terms of training and certifications. They will quickly accumulate hours and miles on the road. They have strict regulations to follow that limit their hours per day, mandatory rest periods and what medications they can take while driving. Due to their size and speeds, commercial vehicles can cause devastating accidents and catastrophic injuries. The occupants of smaller passenger vehicles can suffer head injuries, broken bones, crush injuries and spinal cord damage. If you were injured in a collision caused by an over-medicated or negligent truck driver, it is wise to seek legal guidance as soon as possible.