How common is substance abuse among truckers?

It is virtually impossible to avoid sharing the road with commercial truckers these days, but that does not make doing so any less stressful. For many motorists, navigating around large trucks is anxiety-inducing, both because they can prove difficult to see around and because they pose a serious threat to smaller cars because of their more substantial size and weight.

While driving alongside semi-trucks can prove dangerous under even the best of circumstances, truckers who abuse alcohol or drugs while on the job can make sharing the road with them downright deadly. Regrettably, however, substance abuse is quite common among commercial truckers, many of whom abuse substances in an attempt to combat boredom or cover more miles.

Alcohol abuse among truckers

Alcohol abuse is an undeniable problem among American truckers, with 12.5 percent of them testing positive for alcohol. While this is certainly a sobering statistic, alcohol appears to be less of an issue than drugs for many of today’s commercial truckers.

Drug abuse among truckers

As you might expect, amphetamine use is high among semi-truck drivers, some of whom receive pay for each mile they cover. The tough demands of the job and the need to adhere to tight deadlines can make the use of amphetamines, which increase alertness, particularly appealing, with more than 82 percent of truckers in 36 studies admitting to using it on the job. Another eight percent of truckers admitted to using cocaine on the job, which can also increase alertness for a period.

Using amphetamines and cocaine while commandeering a multi-ton vehicle is astronomically dangerous, however, and the substances can make truckers more inclined to take unnecessary risks. Furthermore, once the effects of the drugs wear off, truck drivers may “crash,” which can make them more likely to fall asleep at the truck’s controls.

While trucker substance abuse presents serious hazards for other drivers, some believe the trucking industry could do much more to protect the motoring public.