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Does the driver of that big rig suffer from an addiction?

As you pass vehicles on the road, do you ever wonder what the lives of those inside them are like? Are they happy or sad, rich or poor or single or married? Maybe you have wondered these things, or maybe you focus on more practical questions like did that driver got enough sleep last night? Is he or she on a cell phone? Is he or she too busy looking at a GPS system to notice you?

You have probably heard that there are more and more drowsy and distracted drivers on the roadways, so you wonder these things. However, you can't forget about the impaired drivers. Whether it's 7a.m. or 7 p.m., some drivers continue to feed their addictions -- and some of them drive vehicles that weigh up to 80,000 pounds and dwarf your car in size. Yes, we are talking about big rigs, and the fact that many of their drivers suffer from addictions make them a danger on the roadways.

The problem could be worse than you think

Truck drivers have a difficult job. They spend countless hours sitting in one place trying to focus on miles of road ahead of them. They get distracted, bored, sleepy and lonely. This is a bad combination for someone who should focus all of his or her attention on driving in order to get there safely. Long-haul truckers spend days on the road driving for hours at a time. Focus and alertness may not come easily.

Government regulations require truck drivers to rest for a certain amount of time, but just as you may have trouble sleeping, getting to sleep or staying asleep, so do they. They may turn to alcohol or drugs to fall asleep and/or to stay awake. Melatonin may not be enough to fall asleep, and a couple cups of coffee isn't going to overcome exhaustion. When combined with the fact that drugs are so readily available to truckers, it's a recipe for disaster.

The truck driver next to you on the road may be addicted to alcohol, heroin, cocaine or methamphetamines. He or she could be addicted to opioids. Amphetamines are also a popular choice since they tend to keep energy up, which is needed in order to drive eight to 10 hours a day. To make matters worse, trucking companies generally don't care how the job gets done, as long as it does.

What does this mean for you?

It may not be difficult to see that a truck driver with an addiction is a danger to everyone, including you. If you end up the victim of an addicted truck driver, and you suffer serious injuries, your life could change forever. As you focus on your recovery, you will undoubtedly incur medical expenses while losing income. You don't have to let your financial situation continue to deteriorate. You may be able to file a personal injury claim in a Texas civil court seeking compensation for your monetary and other losses.

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