Research shows that a growing number of commercial truck drivers across West Virginia and the rest of the United States are taking dangerous risks behind the wheel. Substance abuse, in particular, is on the rise among this population. Positive drug tests among American truck drivers rose 13% between the first eight months of 2020 and the same stretch of time the following year.
According to ESR Check, drug use among commercial truckers increased in the top three drug use categories. This means truck drivers upped their intake of marijuana, methamphetamines and cocaine during this span.
Truckers and the use of marijuana
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration maintains a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse that logs drug infractions received by commercial truck drivers. Clearinghouse findings that marijuana is, by far, the most common drug abused by today’s truck drivers. Marijuana infractions account for 53% of all trucker drug violations. While there were 18,252 marijuana-related drug infractions received by truckers between January and August of 2020, there were 21,438 such violations received within that same stretch in 2021.
Truckers and the use of methamphetamines, cocaine
Trucker drug use also rose across other categories. There were 3,379 such infractions logged against truck drivers during the first eight months of 2020 and 3,526 such infractions logged during the same stretch in 2021. When it comes to cocaine use, truckers received 5,233 such violations during the first eight months of 2020 and 5,913 such violations during the first eight months of 2021.
Truckers who have drug infractions listed in the clearinghouse have to complete particular return-to-duty protocols before they may start driving a truck again professionally.