Hostile Work Environments Cause Some Truckers to Turn to Stimulants

Everyone in business agrees that growth is good, and as more and more goods are produced and consumed every day, more and more truckers need to transport them. Add in the pressure from self-driving cars, and career truckers are fighting harder than ever to keep their jobs. Some companies are pushing their drivers too hard, and in order to stay awake, the drivers are turning to stimulants to keep going. Even though no one wants a sleepy driver at the wheel, stimulants can cause more problems than they solve.

According to this article published by Reuters way back in 2013, it was found that drug use was high among truck drivers and that it was tied to poor working conditions. While some of the drivers reported using drugs like marijuana, others claimed to take cocaine or methamphetamines to stay awake, but these drugs can also cause hallucinations, agitation, and vertigo. According to this study, which reviewed a bunch of other studies from around the world, about 8% of drivers in the study tested positive for amphetamines, double the number of drivers who tested positive for alcohol. In addition, these studies also correlated higher drug use with driving longer routes and driving at night. There was also a positive correlation between drug use and whether or not the driver had been in an accident before. However, this is only a correlation and the authors of this review point out that the studies included in their research are small and that more research is needed. The U.S Department of Transportation reportedly told Reuters that in their own surveys, less than 1% of drivers who were tested during pre-employment screening or after an accident showed signs of drug use. Regardless, the authors do claim that the evidence suggests having companies reduce the hours the drivers work and offering better pay would likely help the problem.

Many transportation companies pay their drivers based on the number of miles they drive and keep strict monitors on how often they stop and how fast they are going. Some drivers claim that a company will penalize them if they take breaks. Instead of paying their workers based on miles, the drug use behavior could be minimized by paying the driver hourly or having them salaried. Of course, if transportation costs get too high, transportations companies will look more and more towards self-driving vehicles, which will put many truck drivers out of a job, making this a difficult problem to completely solve.

A personal injury attorney in Milwaukee suggests that, instead of immediately turning to stimulants, truck drivers should contact a lawyer that works on truck driving accidents, to hold the company that is mandating them work through breaks accountable for breaking the law. Even if the data is spotty at best, it should still be high priority that truck drivers are taken care of, and more studies should be done to make sure transportation companies are not taking advantage of their workforce.