Alcohol and drug abuse by truck drivers is a serious problem that increases the risk of accidents, and endangers the safety of motorists and truckers. Drugs like alcohol and marijuana slow down driver reflexes, increasing the risk of a truck accident.
Amphetamines can have a severe effect on a driver’s health, increasing his chances of suffering a medical condition at the wheel.A new study into the incidence of substance abuse among truck drivers finds that younger truckers may be more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
The study, which was based on a review of existing studies, was conducted by Brazilian researchers who analyzed the conclusions of 36 studies from across the world. Most of the studies were based on surveys of truck drivers.
The review finds that the drug that truck drivers most frequently abuse, is alcohol. This is followed by amphetamines, marijuana and cocaine. However, there seemed to be plenty of variation in the results. The rate of drinking alcohol on the job ranged from 1% of truckers to 91%. The rate of amphetamine use ranged from .2% to 82.5% , and the use of marijuana ranged from .2% to 30%.
Some categories of truckers seemed to be at a much higher risk of abusing drugs and alcohol on the job. For instance, younger truckers showed a much greater susceptibility to drinking on the job, while truck drivers who drove for longer trips as part of their jobs were also more likely to drink or take drugs.
Besides these categories, truck drivers who drove more at night, drank alcohol, got fewer hours of rest, were paid below the union-recommended wages or were paid based on their job performance, were also much more likely to be impaired on the job.