Driving a semi-truck for a living requires a strong degree of responsibility. Yet, studies show that many modern truck drivers are shirking their responsibilities and making dangerous moves behind the wheel. Substance abuse among truck drivers, in particular, is on the rise. When truckers drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the chance of them causing a crash and injuring or killing someone increases significantly.
Per ESR Check, the findings come after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted something called a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse back in early 2020. The clearinghouse is a database that tracks alcohol and drug violations given to commercial truck drivers to keep dangerous drivers off the nation’s roadways.
Truckers and marijuana use
According to the clearinghouse, positive drug tests among commercial truck drivers increased by 13% between August 2020 and August 2021. The majority of these infractions involved truck drivers using marijuana. During the first eight months of 2020, 18,252 truck drivers tested positive for marijuana. Yet, during the first eight months of 2021, 21,438 truckers tested positive for the substance.
Truckers and the use of other drugs
Truck drivers’ use of cocaine and methamphetamines also increased during this time. There were 147 more cocaine violations in the first eight months of 2021 than there were in 2020. The number of truckers receiving amphetamine violations also increased from 3,379 in the first eight months of 2020 to 3,526 during the first eight months of the following year.
When truckers receive citations in the clearinghouse, they have to complete a specific return-to-duty protocol before getting back behind the wheel of their trucks.