Truck driving can be a lonely job with long hours. It is common for a trucker to spend 70 hours a week on the road, and much of this time is spent alone. Long hours spent driving and excessive time alone can lead to various mental and physical health problems. However, they are also common reasons why many truckers develop substance abuse problems, according to American Addiction Centers.
Many truckers turn to amphetamines and cocaine, which can help them stay awake for long periods of time. Alcohol and cannabis are also popular intoxicants among truckers. The use of any intoxicant while driving can impair the ability to drive safely and can lead to harmful collisions.
Substance abuse may be more common that people realize
Data from 36 studies between 2000 and 2013 indicate that over 90% of the truck drivers who participated in the studies drink while driving and over 80% use amphetamines.
Earlier this year, the Alliance of Driver Safety & Security (The Trucking Alliance) submitted data to Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) that indicates numerous truck drivers use illegal substances and manipulate the federal drug tests they are required to take. According to the Trucking Alliance, urinalysis tests detected about 950 applicants who used drugs, but over 8,800 truck driver applicants failed or refused a hair test.
Almost all the applicants had an active commercial driver’s license. Companies that required hair tests did not hire applicants who failed or refused the test, but the Trucking Alliance indicated these applicants may have been hired by other trucking companies that did not require this type of testing.
Intoxicated truckers risk the safety of everyone on the road
Drugged driving is dangerous regardless of the type of vehicle someone drives. However, it is especially concerning that substance abuse is so common among truckers because trucks can cause much more damage than a passenger vehicle in a collision.
Unfortunately, the occupants of passenger vehicles are often the ones injured in crashes involving large trucks. If a trucking crash injures you or a loved one, it may be appropriate to explore your legal options.