Alcohol and drugs are frequent contributing factors to a wide variety of motor vehicle accidents. Substance abuse is a concern of the trucking industry where a single truck accident can claim multiple lives and cause tremendous damage. A review of several studies conducted concerning substance abuse and truck drivers has revealed a concerning pattern. Younger, less experienced drivers who are being paid less than older drivers are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol on the job. An impaired truck driver is an enormous threat to pedestrians and others on the road.
The review analyzed the results of 36 studies done around the world. Some studies were based on the collection of biological samples, while others used survey data gathered from the truck drivers themselves. The review identified alcohol, amphetamines, marijuana and cocaine as the most commonly abused substances in the trucking community.
Among the studies were 12 that attempted to determine what factors influenced the likelihood of substance abuse. Those studies identified the correlation between younger, lower paid truckers and drug and alcohol use. In addition, drug and alcohol use were higher among drivers who drive more frequently at night and who drive over greater distances. Some drugs, such as amphetamines and cocaine, may be used by truckers in an attempt to remain alert over long, overnight journeys.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths are the result of alcohol-impaired driving. The use of alcohol or drugs by truck drivers who are on the job is a serious issue. More needs to be done to address this problem.
Source: Health Day, “Study Probes Why Truckers Use Booze, Illicit Drugs,” by Randy Dotinga, 22 October 2013