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How often are truck drivers abusing drugs and alcohol?

Today’s commercial truck drivers have undeniably tough jobs, and statistics from the American Addiction Centers show that many of them are responding to the difficult nature of their profession by using drugs or alcohol while at work. Many regular motorists feel uneasy riding alongside commercial trucks even under the best possible circumstances, but drug and alcohol-abusing semitruck drivers place everyone on the road in substantial danger.

Just what is it about the job that is making many commercial truckers turn to drugs or alcohol?

Root causes of trucker substance abuse

In some cases, commercial truck drivers use alcohol or drugs behind the wheel for little reason other than to fight boredom. There is little doubt that truckers have solitary professions that often keep them from their loved ones for long stints at a time. However, truckers who abuse substances hinder their driving abilities considerably, potentially impacting everything from their judgment to their degree of alertness.

While some truck drivers turn to alcohol or drugs out of boredom, others do so because they feel as if certain substances may have performance-enhancing capabilities. Amphetamines including methamphetamine, for example, may make truck drivers be able to stay awake longer for a period, which in turn enables them to cover additional miles or finish jobs faster than they might otherwise. However, amphetamines can also make truckers increasingly exhausted when the effects wear off, hindering trucker performance.

By the numbers

So, just how widespread is the trucking industry’s substance abuse problem? Alcohol abuse appears to be the most problematic form of substance abuse plaguing the industry, with more than 90 percent of truckers who took part in 36 separate studies admitting to drinking and driving. Trucker amphetamine use was not far behind, with more than 82 percent of truckers surveyed reporting having used them while at work.

When you encounter commercial trucks on the roadway, exercise extreme caution. When cars and semitrucks collide, the people in the passenger cars are typically the ones who find themselves on the losing end.