There’s a silent problem in the trucking industry. Drivers are using alcohol and prohibited drugs while on the job, and the crisis is getting worse. Tens of thousands of truck drivers have been suspended, yet many more remain on the roads. To help illustrate this crisis, we need to look at why truck drivers need to be completely sober while at the wheel and how an increasing number are failing.
The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for most drivers is 0.08%. For truck drivers, it’s half that, just 0.04%. There’s significant evidence to suggest that a BAC as low as 0.03% inhibits reaction times and decision-making when driving. But trucks are large, heavy vehicles and require even greater precision to control than most small cars. So while the legal limit for truck drivers is lower, it may still be too high.
Truck drivers drinking (even a little) has consequences. In 2020, the trucking industry reported 70,000 on-the-job alcohol violations. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DUIs are a factor in about 1-in-50 truck accidents (9,000 per year). Worse, the number of truck driver DUIs and other drug violations are rising.
Drugs and Alcohol
While alcohol is a big problem, there’s an increasing concern that truck drivers are turning to controlled substances while on the job. Last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported 54,000 truck driver drug violations. In 2021, that number has jumped by 50%, increasing to 75,000 violations before the end of the year.
While the majority of violations come from failing a drug test (at which point truck drivers are put on probation status), it’s important to recognize that each year about 3,000 truck crashes (roughly 1-in-25 drug violations) occurred while a truck driver was actively under the influence.
From the number of violations alone and the fact that they seem to be increasing, it’s clear that something needs to change. Random drug tests are suspending tens of thousands of drivers, yet thousands more are getting into crashes that cause catastrophic damage or even fatalities.
When someone is injured or killed in a truck crash, they and their families have a right to pursue justice. If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries and need help moving forward, our team is here for you. To discuss your case with an experienced Shreveport truck accident attorney from Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers, don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (318) 221-1508 today.