Tractor-trailers pose a threat to everyone on the roadway based on their size and weight alone, but when the drivers of commercial trucks are also making poor decisions that impact their driving ability, they become even more of a danger to the public. Unfortunately, statistics presented by the American Addiction Centers reveal that substance abuse is a common and widespread problem in trucking. This, despite the fact that the hazards associated with driving under the influence are extensively documented.
Just how common has substance abuse become among semi-truck drivers?
While truck drivers all over the world sometimes turn to substances, whether due to loneliness, job stress, boredom or what have you, truckers in the United States are especially prone to using drugs and alcohol while working. In fact, American truck drivers have the highest frequency of testing positive for alcohol than truckers hailing from any other nation in the world; one study found that 50% of them use alcohol while driving their trucks.
Another series of studies involving trucker habits over a 13-year span revealed even more concerning statistics about trucker substance abuse. The results showed that more than 90% of truck drivers admitted to drinking alcohol on the job and that another more than 82% acknowledged using amphetamines while driving.
Why is it that there is such a substantial substance abuse problem in the trucking industry? While the often-considerable demands and tight timelines associated with trucking may lead some drivers to turn to substances, others do so because they believe it may improve their on-the-job performance. Amphetamines, for example, may increase a driver’s alertness for some time, allowing them to cover more miles without having to rest.
Using any kind of drugs while driving may have a substantial impact on judgment and driving ability. Thus, any truck driver who abuses substances on the job unnecessarily endangers anyone they come in contact with in the aftermath.