When any driver in Texas uses drugs before getting behind the wheel, it raises the risk of a car wreck. Yet, when the people abusing drugs are also sitting behind the wheels of large, heavy semis, the repercussions often prove catastrophic. This is concerning because data shows that the number of commercial truck drivers using drugs on the job has risen sharply in recent years.
According to Transport Topics, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration currently oversees a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which is a database used to log drug infractions received by commercial truck drivers. Enacted in early 2020, clearinghouse data provides valuable information about how often truck drivers are abusing drugs and endangering the public in doing so.
Truckers and marijuana
Data shows that truckers abuse marijuana far more than any other substance, with almost 41,000 of these professionals taking drug tests that were positive for marijuana in 2022 alone. This was a notable, 32% uptick from the year prior. It also raises questions about why marijuana use surged in popularity among this demographic.
Truckers and other drugs
After marijuana, the three drugs truckers abused the most, as evidenced by positive drug tests, were cocaine, methamphetamines and amphetamines, in that order. Altogether, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines and amphetamines accounted for 90% of the 177,376 positive trucker drug tests logged in the clearinghouse since its establishment.
Because drug use, and marijuana use, in particular, has become so common among commercial truck drivers, safety advocates are seeking new testing methods to help identify drivers who are under the influence of it. While there are breath test devices that assess a driver’s degree of intoxication, there is not yet a similar roadside test that identifies marijuana use.