Commercial truck drivers across New Jersey and the rest of the United States are increasingly taking substance abuse-related risks behind the wheel. This means big trouble for everyone they encounter on the roadway. Research shows that drug abuse, in particular, is rising sharply among professional truck drivers. This is true even though abuse of drugs has notable negative effects on a trucker’s driving ability and performance.
According to ESR, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration launched a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse in 2020. The database lists and details commercial truck driver substance infractions to identify substance-abusing truck drivers and get them off the nation’s roads. Clearinghouse findings show that drug violations were up 13% during the first half of 2020 when compared against the same stretch of time in 2019.
Substance abuse statistics
Marijuana was the most common drug used by American truck drivers on the job, with 53% of all trucker substance abuse infractions involving marijuana. There were 21,438 marijuana infractions logged in the clearinghouse within this span, which increased from 18,252 such violations during the same span in 2019. Cocaine was the second-most-abused drug among commercial truck drivers, while methamphetamine use claimed the third spot.
Substance abuse dangers
Truckers who use drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines while driving trucks may be more prone to aggression or recklessness. Marijuana use also impacts driving ability and might affect everything from a driver’s reaction time to his or her judgment.
Truckers have an ethical duty to abstain from using drugs on the job. Trucking industry employers have an obligation to hire trustworthy truck drivers who stay clean at the wheel. Truckers or trucking companies that fail to do so may face sanctions.