Even the most experienced and responsible semi-truck drivers present a threat to the public due to the sheer size and weight of their vehicles, but truck drivers who shun common sense in favor of using mind-altering substances present even more of a public safety hazard. Unfortunately, statistics indicate that an alarmingly large percentage of truck drivers commonly rely on substances while on the clock, despite the fact that truckers who abuse substances dramatically increase their chances of causing crashes, injuries and fatalities.
Just how common is drug and alcohol abuse in the trucking industry? According to the American Addiction Centers, the long hours and isolated nature of the trucking profession leads a high number of truck drivers to abuse drugs or alcohol while working. In one particular study, about 30% of truckers surveyed acknowledged that they had used amphetamines at some point during their careers, with amphetamines being especially common among this audience due to their stimulating properties.
Amphetamine use also comes with a long line of side effects, however, and many of these side effects have the potential to impact a trucker’s driving ability. Amphetamines make some drivers stay awake for prolonged periods, for example, which may make them more prone to exhaustion or driving while fatigued later on. Amphetamine use also may lead to hallucinations, high blood pressure and agitation, among other side effects, all of which have the potential to enhance a driver’s crash risk.
Alcohol abuse, too, is a pervasive problem in the trucking industry. In that same study, about half of all semi-truck drivers admitted to abusing alcohol on the job. Also troubling is the fact that American truck drivers are more likely to use alcohol at work than truckers who work in any other nation in the world.