The trucking profession is often a lonely and difficult one, and many truck drivers turn to drugs or alcohol to help themselves cope. Research shows that the number of semi truck drivers using drugs or alcohol while on the job is rising. This means enhanced risks for everyone out on the roads.
Per the Commercial Carrier Journal, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration began tracking trucker substance abuse violations in a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse in early 2020. The administration did so to help prevent truck drivers from endangering the public while driving under the influence.
Numbers show that more truck drivers received drug or alcohol violations during the first quarter of 2021 than they did during the same stretch of time last year. In January, February and March of 2021, 367 truckers received alcohol violations. Another 14,234 truck drivers received drug violations.
In total in 2020, there were 1,185 truck drivers who received alcohol violations and another 54,776 who received drug violations. If this trend continues, drug and alcohol violations received by truckers in 2021 are going to significantly outpace those received in 2020.
Substance abuse risks
Truckers who abuse drugs or alcohol on the job endanger everyone they encounter. Substance abuse impacts reaction time, judgment and decision-making ability. It may also lead to visual impairment, and all these issues raise the risk of a truck crash.
Truckers who receive alcohol or drug violations and wind up in the clearinghouse must partake in a specific return-to-duty process before they may return to driving commercial trucks for a living.