Overall safety is a basic human right; however, safety while driving is imperative and must be followed by all human beings who drive a vehicle. By safety it means not just following traffic rules but also refraining from alcohol consumption when driving. It also means saying no to drug abuse at all times even when not driving. This is applicable for truck drivers, especially because they are prone to such addictions due to various reasons such as stress, driving for long times, and so on. Drug abuse is an offence, and especially so while driving because there have been many cases of mishaps and road accidents under drug and alcohol influence, which raise the issue of the safety of drivers as well as other people on the road at that time. This post talks about the steps we can take to prevent such mishaps and help truck drivers refrain from such addictions.
The American Trucking Association has some stats regarding this issue. According to the organization, there are 3.5 million truck drivers across the US, who fulfill the transportation needs of various small and big businesses. Usually, the job of a truck driver is stressful as most of them drive up to 500 miles a day. This can be tiring and hence must be supplemented with a proper rest and ergonomic break schedule. Also, it can be mundane to sit in a confined space for hours and drive the loaded vehicle to its faraway destination such as ports, warehouses, and so on. Considering the traffic conditions, weather, and so on, they need to cover the distance within a stipulated time as they cannot afford to reach late to a shipping port to unload all the material onto a ship. All this can influence you mentally. While there are better ways to deal with all this stress and tiredness, some of them resort to drugs to get a temporary high. However, it risks their jobs, health, and overall safety. Some health related repercussions include hallucinations, hypertension, aggression, mood swings, irritability, and so on. So, it is essential to create awareness to help them understand the repercussions of using drugs even as drug testing and legal penalties are prime solutions to deal with the problem.
While drug testing is a paramount step and so are court cases if necessary, it is better, if this issue is looked from a holistic perspective. Here are some steps we can take:
- It is imperative that company owners make truck drivers realize these repercussions through meaningful conversations. Aside from this, they can conduct random drug testing which would automatically keep a truck driver in check as they would not want to lose their job.
- If at all, a truck driver is caught and tried, the concerned police, lawyer, and counselor can be of help in reforming them and getting back to their job and normal life after they come out clean.
- Overall, the conditions in which they work can be improved by the concerned authorities. They can help them with a schedule which allows them to take breaks at certain intervals, get a sleep of at least six to seven hours, and eat on time.
- A truck driver must be made to realize how much they can drive at a stretch, and this is because some of them do extra shifts to get better money.
- Overall, life on the road and continuous monotonous driving can get risky and put them in the trap of drugs. They should be taught to deal with the loneliness they face and this can be achieved by good music, meditation, speaking up when required, staying connected through phone with loved ones, and so on.
- While drug testing is an absolutely certain checkpoint, these humane factors are necessary as well.
If you are a transportation services provider or a drivers’ agency, it is always a wise option to carry out a pre-employment or random drug testing of all your truck drivers. This assures hiring of people who are clean and minimizes the chances of accidents which happen due to DUI. Medway Onsite Health Services (OHS) offer drug testing of various types such as random testing, pre-employment drug testing, court-ordered testing, and so on. The company also partners with several organizations to build and enhance workplace safety, reduce accidents due to DUI, and creating awareness about staying away from drugs.