A professional truck driver needs to have a clear head to drive a big rig safely. Yet, research shows that many truck drivers across Kentucky and the rest of the nation are using drugs behind the wheel. Using any drug has the potential to impact driving ability in a negative manner. So, the fact that drug use among professional truck drivers is increasing is cause for concern.
According to Transport Topics, the number of truckers who received drug violations in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rose 10% between 2020 and 2021.
How often truckers abuse drugs
The FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse keeps a log of all drug infractions received by commercial truckers. Drug violations come in various forms, but a trucker might receive one for refusing to take a drug test or failing a drug test, among other possible examples. However, most violations involve truckers having positive drug tests. In 2020, big rig drivers across the nation received 52,223 positive drug tests. The following year, they received 53,557 such infractions.
How drug-abusing truckers return to duty
Once a commercial truck driver has a drug infraction listed in the clearinghouse, he or she must follow certain protocols before driving professionally again. They must complete a predetermined return-to-duty program, and they also have to pass a drug test before getting back behind the wheel. However, many truckers neglect to follow the return-to-duty process, instead choosing to find alternative jobs.
Using drugs has the capacity to affect a trucker’s memory, judgment, reaction time and more, all of which raise the chances of a serious crash.