Cannabis Drug Testing Partial Cause for U.S. Truck Driver Shortage

Cannabis Drug Testing Partial Cause for U.S. Truck Driver Shortage
High Times

The American Trucking Association released a statement in October 2021, citing retiring driving veterans and lower wages as the partial cause for the shortage of more than 80,000 drivers. However, another cause for this shortage is being attributed to adult-use legalization and drivers testing positive for cannabis. A March 2022 U.S. Department of Transportation summary report states that as of April 1, 2022, 10,276 commercial truck drivers tested positive for THC. (Although this is a significant decrease in numbers, compared to 31,085 violations in 2021 and 29,511 violations in 2020.) Cannabis leads the data as the highest positive drug tests for drivers, but this also includes data about drivers who test positive for cocaine, methamphetamine, oxymorphone and more. The situation is especially difficult for drivers who consume because many of them travel through multiple states with varying approaches to legalization. According to an article on Stacker, the Department of Transportation (DOT) Handbook: A Compliance for Guide Truck Drivers confirms that cannabis is still federally illegal. “While states may allow medical use of marijuana, federal laws and policy do not recognize any legitimate medical use of marijuana. Even if a state allows the use of marijuana, DOT regulations treat its use as the same as the use of any other illicit drug.” The DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) increased drug testing rates from 25% to 50% two years ago. “The new minimum annual percentage rate for random drug testing will be effective January 1, 2020. This change reflects the increased positive test rate and will result in an estimated $50 to $70 million increase in costs to the industry by requiring that more drivers be tested.” However, it also notes that random alcohol testing remained at 10%. The FMCSA also states that medical cannabis is also not allowed with…

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