Marijuana is becoming a popular choice for truck drivers. While the job requires a sound mind at all times, many drivers are getting in trouble.
The use of cannabis is causing concerns among the trucking industry. With so many drivers utilizing the plant in their off-hours, concern for driver safety is increasing.
The first monthly report for the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse is producing some worrisome numbers. Marijuana remains the largest substance used among drivers.
With almost 19,000 driver under prohibited status, approximately 10,000 of those drivers are caught using marijuana.
Marijuana Use Makes Up Majority Of Cases
Of the overall number, 15,682 are not in the RTD (return-to-work) process. Now, keep in mind that more than two-thirds of these cases are for cannabis.
There seems to be confusion among drivers. While recreational cannabis is legal in 11 states, DOT disqualifies drivers who use it.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that a percentage of drivers are going to leave this industry after testing positive, particularly for marijuana, for a number of reasons. One, that positive test is now captured in the Clearinghouse for a minimum of five years. It’s going to be hanging over them for those five years, even if they clear the Return-to-Duty testing process. But if they never start, [the RTD process] it’ll just stay in there,” says Dave Osiecki, president, and CEO of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, LLC.
One of the largest issues that come with these claims is the timeline. Cannabis will stay in a persons body days after they use it.
“Another reason is that some drivers are certainly going to decide that they agree with state marijuana laws and not the federal marijuana law. It will be a philosophical thing for some,” Osiecki added. “Still, another reason is that some companies will keep a driver on after they test positive and sponsor their Return-to-Duty testing process. But other companies won’t. They will just terminate a driver when they’re positive or never hire them.”