Numerous studies have shown that using marijuana impacts driving ability, and yet many motorists across Georgia and the rest of the United States admit to using the substance before, or while, driving. While anyone who drives after or while using marijuana poses a threat to others on the roadway, truck drivers that use marijuana are particularly dangerous. This is largely due to the fact that, when semi trucks and smaller cars collide, the people traveling in the smaller cars are the most likely to experience an injury or fatality.
According to Transport Topics, more than 100,000 professional truck drivers tested positive for marijuana since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration first began tracking these infractions in early 2020. The agency enacted a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse that keeps track of truckers who fail drug or alcohol tests to prevent them from getting back behind the wheel.
How common marijuana use is in trucking
The number of professional truck drivers testing positive for marijuana increased by 32% between 2021 and 2022, with 41,000 truckers failing marijuana drug tests last year. Failed marijuana tests made up the vast majority of all drug tests truckers failed last year. Some attribute the rapid rise in marijuana use among truck drivers to the fact that different states have different rules regarding its usage and legality. However, it is not legal for a professional truck driver with a CDL license to use marijuana in any state.
How marijuana use impacts a trucker’s driving ability
Using marijuana before driving affects a motorist’s reaction time and judgment. It may, too, impact a driver’s coordination and level of alertness.
Truckers who abuse drugs or alcohol and then cause injury to others may face legal, criminal or professional sanctions.