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Recreational Marijuana Use and Truck Accidents in Oregon

Truck driver holding a joint.

Although recreational marijuana use is now legal in many parts of the US, it is still illegal for commercial truck drivers to operate a vehicle while impaired by this drug. 

One safety measure is that commercial truck drivers are subject to regular alcohol and drug testing. According to a report from the US Department of Transportation (DOT), 41,000 truck drivers tested positive for marijuana in 2022. 

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a truck driver who had smoked or ingested marijuana, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. Johnston Law Firm has many years of experience helping truck accident victims in Oregon recover compensation for their injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free case review. 

Federal Drug Testing Regulations

Drug testing requirements for commercial truck drivers are in place to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. 

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial truck drivers are subject to the following drug and alcohol tests:

  • Pre-employment testing: Before hiring a new driver, trucking companies are required to conduct pre-employment drug tests. If the test results come back positive, the driver cannot be hired.
  • Random testing: Truck drivers are subject to random tests for marijuana and other drugs at any time. Random tests can only be ordered when the driver is on duty or immediately before or after work. Failure to immediately report to the testing location will be considered a refusal – equivalent to testing positive. 
  • Post-accident testing: In the event of a truck accident, drivers are subject to post-accident drug testing. The drug test must be taken within 32 hours of when the truck accident occurred. This test will help determine whether drug impairment contributed to the accident. 
  • Reasonable suspicion testing: If an employer has reasonable suspicion that a truck driver is under the influence of marijuana or other drugs, the employer can request immediate testing. Signs of drug impairment may include slurred speech, erratic behavior, or the odor of drugs. 

The Risks of Oregon Truck Drivers Using Recreational Marijuana

Understanding how marijuana can potentially impair a driver is important for addressing safety concerns. It also helps promote responsible driving practices within the trucking industry. 

Impaired reaction times and judgment

Marijuana can impair a truck driver’s:

  • Coordination
  • Judgment
  • Reaction time
  • Decision-making 

Commercial truck drivers often operate large trucks with long stopping distances, making split-second decisions and quickly reacting is essential to preventing accidents. The sedative effects of smoking or consuming marijuana can lead to delayed responses and poor decision-making while behind the wheel.

Decreased attention and focus

Operating a massive vehicle like a commercial truck requires focus and attention. Marijuana can cause cognitive impairments, such as difficulty paying attention and concentrating. 

The lack of focus can lead to distracted driving behaviors. This is especially hazardous in heavy traffic situations or inclement weather conditions. 

Drowsy driving

Truck drivers often work long hours, sometimes driving overnight to meet delivery deadlines. Driving long hours itself is fatiguing, and the use of marijuana can increase feelings of exhaustion. 

A truck driver may turn to marijuana to alleviate feelings of stress or boredom during long drives. Its sedative effects, combined with fatigue, can lead to drowsy driving – one common cause of truck accidents. 

What to Do If You Suspect a High Truck Driver Caused Your Accident

What if you suspect that the driver who caused your truck accident was high on marijuana or another substance? If so, it is essential to take immediate steps to protect both your physical health and your legal rights. 

It is recommended to take the following steps if you believe the driver who hit you is high on marijuana:

  • Seek medical attention: Your health and safety, and that of anyone else involved, are always the top priorities following any accident. You should receive a medical evaluation even if you do not feel seriously injured. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, may not manifest symptoms immediately.
  • Avoid confronting the driver: While it is natural to be angry or frustrated, avoid confronting the truck driver whom you suspect of being high on marijuana. A person under the influence of drugs could behave erratically or dangerously.
  • Call 911: It is always important to call the police and report a car accident, but even more so if you suspect the driver was impaired by marijuana. The officer who responds to the scene can investigate the accident and potentially make an arrest if the driver is under the influence. 
  • Gather evidence: If safe to do so, take photos and videos of the accident scene. Include any vehicles involved, skid marks, road conditions, property damage, and any visible injuries. If there were any eyewitnesses to the accident, try to exchange contact information with them. 
  • Contact a truck accident lawyer: As soon as possible, make an appointment with a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in handling truck accident cases. A lawyer can help you gather evidence to prove the truck driver was high on marijuana. Evidence of impairment may include chemical or drug tests, marijuana or drug paraphernalia found in the truck, or the driver’s criminal record of drug-related offenses. 

Contact Our Oregon Truck Accident Lawyers Today

Finding the evidence you need to prove that a truck driver was negligent and under the influence of marijuana at the time of your accident can be challenging. Both the driver and the trucking company may try to destroy or hide evidence that the driver was impaired. For this reason, you need an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side. 

In recent years, Johnston Law Firm has handled, resolved, and settled some of the biggest truck accident cases in Oregon. When you hire us, you can be sure that every stage of the claims process will be handled with your best interests in mind. Our legal team knows how to investigate your accident, gather evidence, identify all liable parties, and pursue maximum compensation for your injuries. 

Our law firm takes all truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis. Contact us today to schedule a free case review.


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.