Commercial trucks are large and heavy, and they require considerable skill to operate safely. However, new data compiled from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that many of today’s commercial truck drivers are taking unnecessary risks behind the wheel.
According to ESR, drug use is increasing among commercial truck drivers, rising 13% during the first eight months of 2021 compared to the same span last year. A trucker’s drug use has the potential to impact everything from his or her judgment to reaction time, with substance abuse a frequent factor in many of today’s truck crashes.
Getting substance-abusing truckers off the roads
The FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is a database created in early 2020 to track truckers who abuse drugs and alcohol and keep them off the roads. Many of the truckers currently banned from driving trucks received their bans after getting drug violations. Marijuana was the most common drug abused by commercial truck drivers. Cocaine and methamphetamine use claimed the second and third spots, respectively.
Getting truckers back on the roads
Truckers who receive drug-related infractions in the clearinghouse may not drive again until they follow a specific return-to-duty protocol. At the end of August in 2021, there were more than 87,400 drivers with drug infractions logged in the clearinghouse. Only about 17,500 of them had completed the protocols needed to begin driving trucks again for a living.
Truckers have a duty to abstain from substance abuse while working. Their employers, too, have a duty to keep substance-abusing truckers from joining their workforces or driving their trucks.