Commercial truck drivers play an important role in South Carolina’s economy, ensuring that goods make their way across the country efficiently. However, when drug use becomes a part of the equation, the consequences are often severe.
Drug use impairs a driver’s ability to operate his or her vehicle, which threatens road safety and leads to a higher risk of accidents.
The prevalence of drug use
Drug use among commercial truck drivers is a growing problem. According to Freight Waves, positive drug tests among commercial truck drivers rose 18% in 2022, underscoring the widespread nature of the problem. Some of the substances truckers tested positive for included marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines and opioids. Each of these substances can have severe effects on a driver’s ability to operate his or her vehicle safely.
The dangers of drug use
Driving a commercial truck is a demanding and responsible job that requires considerable attention and focus. When truck drivers engage in drug use, they put themselves and others at great risk. Drugs can impair cognitive functions, coordination and reaction times, making it almost impossible to operate a large vehicle safely. Moreover, drug use among truckers may lead to erratic driving behavior, making it difficult for drivers to maintain proper lane discipline and follow traffic rules.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted strict regulations to help deter drug use among commercial truck drivers. The FMCSA mandates regular drug testing for drivers, including pre-employment, random and post-accident testing. Drivers who test positive may face severe consequences, including potential criminal penalties and the possible loss of their commercial driver’s license.