According to a new survey, there are today hundreds of thousands of commercial truck drivers who would fail a drug test or would refuse to take one for fear of failing.
The report, which warns that some 300,000 truckers may be under the influence of illegal drugs, comes from the Trucking Alliance, a group of trucking companies that is focused on improving safety and preventing fatal truck crashes.
Federal law mandates the drug testing of commercial truck drivers. It only compels trucking companies to use urine testing. Hair testing is commonly accepted as a more stringent test and a better indicator of drug use.
The report included more than 150,000 truck driver drug tests – both urinalysis and hair analysis. The research determined 94 percent of the drivers were drug free.
300,000 Truckers Would Fail Drug Test
But based on those findings, the Truck Alliance projected that 300,000 truck drivers today – out of the 3.5 million currently on the road – would fail the more accurate hair analysis test or refuse to take it because it is known to be more precise.
Cocaine, followed by marijuana and opioids, were the most common drugs found in the commercial truck driver drug testing. The Trucking Alliance reported that about 90 percent of truck drivers using drugs were not detected when using urinalysis alone.
The trucking group presented its findings to a Congressional subcommittee earlier this month and called on the federal government to finalize pending rules that would require all trucking companies to submit truckers to hair testing for illegal drugs.
Representatives pointed to the large number of truck drivers using drugs – those estimated 300,000 – as one reason why catastrophic truck crashes have risen in recent years.
Growing Marijuana and Opioid Use by Truck Drivers
Compounding the problem of truckers under the influence of drugs is the growing legalized use of marijuana across the country. During Congressional testimony, representatives of the trucking industry reported that hiring new drivers is made more difficult by marijuana use as well as opioids. There simply are too many potential new truckers who know or fear they would not pass testing for these substances.
Truck drivers under the influence of drugs were not the only safety concern addressed by the Trucking Alliance before Congress. It argued against letting truck drivers under the age of 21 to drive big rigs across the country. Such a rule is under consideration as one way to combat the truck driver shortage.
And the group urged the federal government against offering certain trucking segments exemptions to the Electronic Logging Device Mandate, which is designed to keep dangerously fatigued truckers off the road.
With fully load semis weighing up to 80,000 pounds, a commercial trucker who is under the influence of drugs, tired from driving beyond legal limits, or too young to handle the rig is a known and preventable threat to all.
If you had a family member killed or you were seriously hurt in a crash caused by a commercial truck driver, speak to an attorney who represents victims of truck accidents about advocating your legal rights against all those responsible.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog June 19, 2019