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How common is substance abuse in the trucking industry?

Today’s commercial truck drivers often face long hours, inconsistent schedules and lengthy stints by themselves, among other hardships, but in some cases, these tough conditions are leading semitruck drivers to take risks that endanger everyone on the road. According to the results of 36 different studies, many truck drivers admit to using drugs and alcohol while on the job, and they do so despite the fact that their careless actions can dramatically hinder their ability to drive.

Just how common is substance abuse in today’s trucking industry, and how do substance-abusing truckers endanger you and your loved ones?

Trucker substance abuse statistics

According to the American Addiction Centers, truck drivers are abusing alcohol and drugs at alarming rates. Some do so because they think certain substances, among them amphetamines, might help them get through their routes faster, while others do so simply because they are lonely or bored. Alcohol abuse, in particular, is especially common among truck drivers, with around 90 percent of truck drivers involved in those 36 studies admitting to drinking on the clock.

Amphetamine usage was only slightly less common, with about 82 percent of semitruck drivers surveyed admitting to having been under the influence of amphetamines while at the wheel. Another roughly 8 percent of truckers involved in the study, meanwhile, acknowledged that they had used cocaine while at work.

Deadly repercussions

Drinking and driving is undoubtedly dangerous under any circumstance, but when the person doing so is also sitting at the wheel of a massive, heavy vehicle, the results are frequently catastrophic. While the dangers of drinking and driving are well-documented, the dangers associated with abusing amphetamines at the wheel are also considerable.

When semitruck drivers use amphetamines, they typically come down at some point, and they can experience a “crash” effect that may make them even more prone to drowsy driving. Amphetamines can also cause feelings of invincibility, which can affect trucker judgment and lead to unnecessary and dangerous risk-taking.

These statistics indicate that truck driver substance abuse is not only common, but an epidemic. There is a clear need for closer regulation in the trucking industry to help keep American motorists safe on the roads.

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