We all know that drinking and driving is the road to disaster. Smoking dope behind the wheel makes for sleepy motorists who may may just turn their drive into a dangerous snooze cruise. Both are illegal and both can put both drivers and civilians at risk. Common sense, right? Then the rest of this article is going to shock you.
One study suggests that truck drivers are engaging in the use of amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol in frightening numbers. The study was conducted internationally through mostly surveys. However, they also gathered results from drug testing their participants. The results were hard to believe:
- About half of drivers admitted to drinking and driving.
- 30% admitted to using amphetamines.
- 20% of drivers reported to using marijuana.
- 3% said they used cocaine.
- ~35% of truckers who are involved in fatal accidents test positive for illegal drugs.
- 33% of drivers who crash due to fatigue also failed drug tests.
What drives truckers to drug or alcohol use?
Trucking companies as well as drivers both financially benefit from working extremely long hours. Skipping sleep can make drivers, especially younger ones or ones on longer nighttime trips, turn to an “alternative” to stay awake. Therefore, drivers are trying to keep up their pep with the use of things like amphetamines. And although many are under the false impression that this will help their driving, in actuality “psychoactive substances have been proved to impair driving and cause a greater risk of traffic accidents.” Those long hours can also drive a person to the misuses of booze or illicit drugs to forget about the work stress. Loneliness can also bring a person to succumb to the lure of a few drinks or the use of illicit drugs. Shockingly, according to LegalInfo.com, drug abuse among truck drivers can take approximately 5,000 lives each year.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said, “We acknowledge the pressure and daily demands on commercial motor vehicle drivers, but also believe the vast majority of truck drivers are dedicated professionals who would never jeopardize their careers, their safety and the safety of other travelers by using substances or medications that would adversely impact their ability to operate safely on the nation’s highways.” Apparently, only about 1% of randomly drug and alcohol tested drivers came up positive. However, despite the strict requirements, some smaller companies don’t even bother testing some of their employees.
Other factors can contribute to the risk of drug or alcohol abuse among truck drivers. For example, drivers who are going through a divorce would be far more likely to engage in
Truckers wheeling and (drug) dealing.
One study found that 85% of drivers admitted that methamphetamines were easily obtainable at truck stops. Code names are used on CB radios. Looking for “Mary and Juan” isn’t a driver seeking two lost friends…
Although most drivers aren’t knuckleheads engaging in perilous and risky behaviors, even one doing so is too many. If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction, take a stand. You just might save a life.