How to Keep Truckers from Drinking and Drugging

Truckers are responsible for a massive number of the serious accidents on the road. This is a statistic almost any driver would know without even having to look it up. After all, who hasn’t seen truck drivers driving erratically not once but on a regular basis? Who hasn’t seen truck drivers disobeying the rules of the road by driving too fast or in the wrong lanes? Who hasn’t seen trucks pulled off on the side of the road due to mechanical issues? And who hasn’t heard of multiple serious truck accidents every year in their area?

Some of this is unavoidable. Truckers are on the road more than other drivers, so they are more likely to be in accidents. They are driving massive vehicles that are difficult to stop or control when an obstruction suddenly shows up ahead of them, so they are more likely to be in serious accidents than in fender benders.

Some things can be done to minimize these problems, though. For instance, among the major causes of trucker accidents is the use of alcohol by drivers. This is, on some level, counterintuitive. Another of the major problems for truckers is exhaustion, which alcohol is only likely to increase. While stimulant use is obviously also negative, the association of stimulants with truckers makes sense. What drives truckers to drink, though? And how can we stop it?

Part of the problem is the stress of the job itself. The hours are long, many would argue too long. The job is a lonely one with whole days spent without talking to another person. The job is also very stressful, with extremely difficult deadlines to meet for pickups and drop-offs. Also, while the money remains reasonably good compared to some professions, it isn’t as good as it once was, meaning some truckers may be struggling with financial issues pushing them to deliver even faster than their already difficult deadlines demand.

All these stressors can drive anyone to drink, all combined, and with a person left only to police themselves, it’s easy to see why many are tempted to drink more often than they should.

So, what can be done?

First, more should be done to relax the deadlines placed on truckers. There is too little legal supervision over the demands put on truckers. If companies were forced to ease these, it would remove a great deal of stress. This would potentially also allow truckers to take more time to recover if they have been drinking. If they’re driving day can be shortened in such a case without penalty, they are likely to wait until completely sober to drive.

Other options are possible, but far more extreme, such as breathalyzers to start all trucks.

By far, the best option is to ease the stress put on truckers. This will lower transportation efficiency, obviously, but it will make us all safer, which seems like a good bargain.

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