Driving under the influence is a serious form of distracted driving that causes thousands of deaths each year. Even so, drug use among truck drivers in Illinois increased in 2021. In addition, fewer drivers appear to understand the importance of testing.
The link to drug use and failed tests
Truck drivers have increased their use of drugs by 10% since 2020. There are higher rates of failed drug tests that have resulted in job terminations and disqualifications of applications.
Positive drug tests have increased with the highest numbers linked to positive marijuana tests. In addition, there were higher rates of disqualified drivers who refused to return to work and pass a drug re-test. Although testing is mandatory to prevent truck crashes, more drivers have remained in prohibited driving status.
Trucking officials worry that drivers will consider switching careers and increase the shortage of truck drivers across the country. American Trucking Associations has decided to work alongside the Controlled Substances, Driver Health & Wellness Subcommittee to reach out to truck drivers and increase their awareness of the importance of testing and the consequences of not testing.
Predictions for the future of the trucking industry
Truck accidents are often linked to drug use that occurs at any time of the day or night. A few reasons include the tedium of driving for long hours, the desire to stay awake to finish a route and the social interactions with many other truckers.
Any drug may cause side effects that increase the risks of crashing. Despite the risks and warnings, more truck drivers appear to be using drugs to cope with their jobs and other stressors.