Sharing North Carolina’s roadways with large commercial trucks makes many traditional motorists uneasy, and research shows their fears have merit. The number of truck drivers who received citations for drug use rose substantially between 2020 and 2021 per data compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
According to Transport Topics, drug violations received by commercial truckers rose 10% in 2021 compared to the year prior. In 2020, truck drivers received 52,810 drug citations. Yet, in 2021, truckers received 58,215 such violations, raising questions about what might be behind the increase.
Truck drivers and the use of marijuana
Most trucker drug violations were the result of positive drug tests, and most positive drug tests were the results of marijuana usage. In fact, positive marijuana tests accounted for 55” of all failed drug tests. In 2020, there were 29,511 truck drivers who tested positive for marijuana. The following year, there were 31,085 truckers who tested positive for marijuana.
Truck drivers and the use of other drugs
Some in the trucking industry also have a history of relying on cocaine or amphetamines to stay awake or complete a job faster. Cocaine violations also went up among commercial truckers between 2020 and 2021. In 2020, 7,940 semi-drivers tested positive for cocaine, but in 2021, there were 8,765 violations.
When a trucker has a drug violation logged in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, it prevents him or her from working as normal. Instead, the offending truck driver must follow a pre-planned return-to-duty protocol if he or she wants to drive a truck professionally after a drug violation.