Are Truckers Taking Legal Prescription Drugs a Danger on Virginia Roads? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

best truck accident injury lawyersRecently, we have been writing about the dangers of truckers driving under the influence of illegally obtained prescription drugs—and how using these drugs can cause serious and sometimes fatal Virginia truck accidents. However, it is also important to understand that some prescription drugs can affect truckers, even if they are legally and rightfully prescribed to them by a doctor. 

Prescription drugs and federal trucking regulations

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), not all legally prescribed drugs are safe for truckers to use while on the job, even if they control or prevent other health conditions. In order to use a prescription drug while driving a commercial vehicle, it must be approved by the FMCSA, or the driver must have a note from his or her doctor stating that the trucker is safe to drive while taking the medication. 

Certain prescription drugs, including seizure medication and methadone, are not allowed for use by anyone with a commercial license. 

Commercial truckers and Provigil 

Provigil, also known as Modafinil, cannot be used by commercial vehicle users unless they are monitored by medical professionals for six weeks of usage. If a physician and medical examiner find that the medication, which is used to treat sleep disorders including narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorders, do not cause dangerous side effects, the driver may be able to work behind the wheel. However, if the driver shows signs of side effects that could comprise his or her driving ability, such as dizziness, irregular heartbeat, blurred vision, memory issues, or chest pain, he or she may not be cleared to take the medicine and drive a tractor-trailer. 

Virginia truck accident lawyers

Far too many accident victims assume that if a truck driver who struck their car was taking a legally prescribed medication at the time of the crash, the drug couldn’t be a factor in the crash or that no one was to blame. However, some prescription drugs aren’t safe for truckers and are banned by the FMCSA. If you have been injured in a truck accident that involved prescription drugs, it is important to know if the drugs were prescribed, what the drugs were, and whether the driver was suffering from a side effect while behind the wheel.