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How common is substance abuse among commercial truck drivers?

Like many people across Kentucky, you may experience anxiety anytime you have to drive alongside semi-trucks. Based on their size and weight alone, semi-trucks present substantial hazards for other motorists, but the risks associated with sharing the road with commercial trucks are considerably amplified when people driving those trucks are also under the influence.

Unfortunately, the American Addiction Centers acknowledge that substance abuse is a common and prevalent problem across the trucking industry. There are several reasons as to why this is the case.

Why trucker substance abuse is so common

The trucking profession is an undeniably lonely one, with most truck drivers spending long, solitary stretches of time away from their family members and loved ones. For some truck drivers, this time away and time alone can lead to feelings of depression, which, in turn, can make a trucker more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs. Other truck drivers use certain drugs, such as amphetamines or methamphetamines, because these substances can make them stay awake for longer periods, thereby enabling them to cover more miles more quickly.

Trucker substance abuse statistics

So, just how frequently are today’s truck drivers using alcohol, amphetamines and other dangerous substances? A series of 36 studies conducted between 2000 and 2013 revealed some particularly troubling statistics about the prevalence of substance abuse in the trucking industry.

The most common form of substance abuse among truckers, per study results, was alcohol abuse, with about 91 percent of those involved in the studies acknowledging that they had abused alcohol while driving their trucks. Amphetamine abuse was the next-most-common form of truck driver substance abuse, with about 82 percent of respondents reporting having abused amphetamines at some point throughout their careers. Cocaine abuse among truckers, too, was problematic, although it was a less-common issue among truckers, with about 8 percent acknowledging using cocaine on the job.

Truck drivers who use alcohol or drugs while working place everyone else on the road in unnecessary and avoidable danger. Because the rate of substance abuse in the industry is so high, you would be wise to exercise extreme caution anytime you encounter commercial trucks during your travels.

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