Big rigs and medical marijuana are not a good mix

Driving a big rig and smoking marijuana is not only not smart, it can be deadly.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently issued a notice that stated emphatically that federal law prohibits the use of marijuana by truckers and that the prohibition also applies in states that allow people to use it for recreational purposes. The fact that they had to issue the notice in the first place is depressing. This should be a no-brainer. However, legally speaking, there appears to be wiggle room due to conflicting laws. In short, many states are beginning to contemplate the passage of laws allowing the use of medical marijuana. However, federal statutes against the drug’s use are still in place.

The very idea that a trucker would even contemplate smoking up and driving is distressing, but human nature being what it is, there is a likelihood of it happening, if it has not already, and chances are that it has. Contemplating an 80,000-pound semi barreling down the road being driven by an individual under the influence of marijuana is a frightening thought.

More frightening still is the need for the DOT to point blank spell out that such behavior is prohibited. In my law practice, I see the results of big rig crashes, and they are horrendous. Opening a Pandora’s Box by legally allowing smoking marijuana while driving a semi would defy all logic. Common sense may have just left the building should anyone attempt to mount such a defense.

As the DOT pointed out, state initiatives do not impact on their regulated drug testing program and they do not give permission to use Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason, which means medically recommended use will not cut the mustard as an excuse. How would this kind of a situation impact on a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death suit? Negligence is the main factor in most lawsuits and it would be absolutely beyond the pale of negligence, if a trucker smoked marijuana and then hit the road. Despite the conflicting laws, there has to be common sense at play here.

Driving while under the influence is still driving under the influence and it is an act of supreme negligence in that it may seriously maim or kill someone. If you have been in a situation like this, you need to discuss the circumstances of the case with an experience Austin injury lawyer. The buck stops in his office and if you want justice after being involved in a crash where the trucker may have been smoking up before driving, you need an Austin injury lawyer to take the case to court and obtain the proper compensation you deserve.

Posted on: May 27, 2013 | Tagged

Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC maintains offices in Austin, Texas. However, our attorneys and lawyers represent clients throughout the state of Texas, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Forth Worth, El Paso, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Round Rock, Georgetown, Lockhart, Bastrop, Elgin, Manor, Brenham, Cedar Park, Burnet, Marble Falls, Temple and Killeen. By Brooks Schuelke


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