Truck drivers operate vehicles that weigh up to 80,000 pounds and can be over 100 feet in length. Therefore, they need all of their focus to maneuver them safely.
Unfortunately, the pressure to stay awake and deliver loads on time can lead drivers to use stimulants and other drugs. Drugged driving is proven to slow reaction time, decrease motor skills and impair judgment much like drunk driving.
To help deter drug use, federal regulations require trucking companies to regularly test their drivers for alcohol and drugs. Tests must be performed prior to employment, after a serious accident, and periodically throughout the year. The tests look for alcohol as well as marijuana, cocaine, opiates, PCP, and amphetamines.
While most carriers and truck operators follow the rules, compliance failures are still common. In 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration removed 287 commercial bus and truck drivers from the roads as a result of its annual drug and alcohol strike force sweep.
The enforcement effort involved verification of the drug and alcohol safety records of commercial drivers to identify violations of federal drug and alcohol testing requirements. It also sought out truck drivers who switch jobs to evade being tested.