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How common is substance abuse among truckers?

Making your way across Illinois roadways can prove challenging even under the best of circumstances, and this is particularly true when hazardous conditions exist, such as heavy snowfall or icy roads. Sharing the road with commercial truckers can also present challenges, as these large, heavy vehicles can prove particularly difficult to see or navigate around. When the people driving those large, heavy trucks are also under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the dangers become even more pronounced, with substance-abusing truck drivers endangering you and everyone else in their path.

So, just how often are today’s truck drivers using drugs and alcohol?

By the numbers

Making a living as a truck driver can prove lonely and boring, and The American Addiction Centers report that some truck drivers try to combat feelings of loneliness or boredom by abusing drugs or alcohol while on the clock. While some commercial truckers turn to drugs or alcohol as a method of fighting boredom or loneliness, others do so because they think doing so may increase their level of alertness and help them finish a particular job faster.

For example, some truckers turn to cocaine or amphetamines while on the job. In a series of 36 separate studies involving truck driver substance abuse conducted over a 13-year period, just over 8 percent admitted to using cocaine while on the job. Amphetamine use, however, was substantially more common, with about 82.5 percent of commercial truckers acknowledging their on-the-job use of amphetamines, such as methamphetamine.

While these statistics are alarming, so, too, are those surrounding alcohol abuse among truckers. In that same series of studies, up to 91 percent of truck drivers acknowledged drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheels of their trucks.

Clearly, trucking companies and regulatory agencies need to do more to help combat substance abuse among truckers. Until this happens, substance-abusing truck drivers will continue to present a grave danger for the motoring public.

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