Drugs impair a truck driver’s ability to drive safely, putting everyone on the roads at risk of severe and fatal injuries. Drug abuse among truck drivers causes about 5,000 deaths each year.
The Most Common Drugs Used by Truck Drivers
More than 60,500 alcohol and drug violations were recorded in 2020 by the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Positive drug tests made up 80% of the reported violations. There were more than 31,823 failed tests for marijuana use, 8,500 for cocaine, 5,579 for methamphetamine, 5,336 for amphetamine, and 2,510 for DILUTE. Other illegal substances such as MDMA, morphine, methylenedioxyamphetamine, 6-Monoacetylmorphine, OXYC, and PCP were less commonly consumed.
Side Effects of Common Drugs Used by Truckers
Drugs impair a trucker’s ability to stay safe on the road, increasing the risk of trucking accidents. The effects of specific drugs on driving skills vary based on how they act in the brain. Some of the side effects of drugs commonly used by truck drivers include:
- Marijuana: Causes impaired memory, psychosis, mood changes, delusions, and difficulty with problem-solving and thinking.
- Oxymorphone: Causes anxiety, hallucinations, confusion, dry mouth, seizures, fainting, and changes in heartbeat.
- Methamphetamine: Causes insomnia, paranoia, impaired verbal learning, mood disturbances, and reduced motor speed.
- Cocaine: Causes increased blood pressure and heart rate, body temperature, restlessness, muscle twitches, tremors, and erratic behavior.
- Amphetamine: Causes Apprehension, high or low blood pressure, insomnia, nosebleed, loss of appetite, and obsessive behaviors.
These drugs can impair the judgment of distance and time, alter attention, slow reaction time, and decrease coordination. Some drivers can be aggressive and reckless, leading them to take dangerous risks behind the wheel. Veering into another lane and running another car off the road is a risk truckers face if they start to feel drowsy or dizzy while driving.
Why Truck Drivers Use Drugs
Truck drivers play an important role in the American economy, but the industry they work in places extreme demands on its workers. Industry standards push for deliveries to arrive fast and on time. Truckers often work long hours, make nighttime trips, and have irregular schedules dictated by the needs of the customers. This can trigger stress, loneliness, and poor-quality sleep, which can bring a driver to succumb to the lure of drugs. They use drugs to fill that void, entertain themselves, and stay awake on the road.