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Positive trucker drug tests increased nationwide in 2021

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2022 | 18-Wheeler Accidents |

Those who drive trucks for living in Louisiana or another part of the country have a duty to protect public safety by following the rules of the road. Yet, research shows that many truckers are shirking their responsibilities by engaging in drug use on the job.

According to ESR Check, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse logs and tracks substance abuse infractions received by semi-truck drivers. The clearinghouse has revealed some concerning and telling information about the prevalence of drug abuse in the industry.

What drugs truckers are abusing

A study of clearinghouse findings during the first eight months of both 2020 and 2021 has revealed that drug use among commercial truckers increased in multiple categories. In fact, trucker use of marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines all increased considerably between this same stretch of time in 2020 and 2021. However, marijuana was the most frequent substance abused on the job by this demographic.

How drug use impacts driving ability

Trucker drug use has the capacity to impact many aspects of a driver’s performance. For example, marijuana has the potential to impact concentration as well as a truck driver’s sense of time and distance – all of which raise the risk of a crash. The use of cocaine or amphetamines also impacts driving ability. Amphetamine use often makes semi-truck drivers more prone to risk-taking. Cocaine use increases the risk of a driver exhibiting aggression or recklessness behind the wheel.

Truckers have an obligation to avoid using drugs on the job, and their employers have an obligation to research their drivers before they hire them. However, the rising number of truckers abusing drugs suggests that some truckers and trucking company employers are dropping the ball in this area.