Trucking is a tedious and stressful job. Drivers sit behind the wheel of their tractor-trailer for upwards of 11 hours per shift. If they run into traffic or bad weather, they may be expected to drive beyond their physical limits to ensure the shipment arrives on time. But could these factors and others push truckers to use drugs and alcohol while driving? To find out, we need to examine the truth about truckers driving under the influence.
Trucker DUIs are not exceptionally common, but they are extremely dangerous. Whether a truck driver is using alcohol, amphetamines, or cannabis, they are still driving vehicles that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and can cause catastrophic damage. Although DUIs only account for 2% of all truck accidents (about 9,000 incidents per year), these crashes are often fatal.
The other issue is that semi-truck drivers are working when they are at the wheel, which means using mind-altering substances may have been a decision by the driver to keep up with the rigors of the job. Truckers are expected to uphold company standards and government regulations, but a surprising number admit to using drugs while working, often to meet the demands of the job.
According to the US Department of Transportation (DOT), drug and alcohol use among truckers has risen over the past 5 years and is now at its highest in the past decade. The most recent numbers show that around 2% of all active truckers failed their drug test. Other studies suggest that about 10% of all truck driver applicants would fail a drug test or refuse to be tested.
A mere 2% of active truckers testing positive for drugs and alcohol may seem insignificant, but it is a major public hazard when considering there are 3.5 million truckers in the US. That means roughly 70,000 truckers failed their drug test and pose a risk on the road. Unless these truckers dramatically change their behavior and avoid using mind-altering substances behind the wheel, these crashes may continue to rise year after year.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries or even wrongful death in a trucking crash, we are here for you. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Walnut Creek personal injury attorney from Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (925) 275-5592 or send us an email.