Driving a semi truck takes a high level of responsibility because the sheer size and weight of these vehicles make them a significant threat to everyone traveling Indiana’s roads. Yet, research shows that truck drivers are increasingly turning to marijuana and other drugs on the job. This is occurring regularly even though using drugs before getting behind the wheel has a sizable impact on driving ability.
According to Employment Screening Resources, positive trucker drug tests increased by almost 13% during the first six months of 2021 when compared against the same stretch of time the year before. While the use of any drug has the capacity to hinder a trucker’s driving ability, data collected in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse shows that truckers have a clear preference for some substances over others.
What drugs are most problematic
Marijuana was, by far, the most common drug abused by commercial truckers during the first six months of 2020. There were 21,438 marijuana infractions logged in the clearinghouse during this span, increasing from 18,252 such infractions during the same six-month stretch the year prior. Cocaine was the second-most-common drug abused by truck drivers, while methamphetamine came in third.
How drug use affects driving ability
Different drugs impact a trucker’s driving ability in different ways. Many of them impact reaction time, judgment and attentiveness. Stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines, may also make truck drivers feel “invincible” and make them more likely to take risks behind the wheel that they otherwise would not.
When truck drivers use drugs on the job and cause crashes that result in injuries or fatalities, the victim, or the victim’s family members, may have grounds to file claims against them.