New Tests Expose Shocking Number of Marijuana-Smoking Truckers in San Francisco
For many years, trucker intoxication has been a major concern in the transportation industry. It is a well-known fact that intoxicated truckers are more likely to crash or drive recklessly, causing numerous accidents and injuries in the process. But while intoxicated truckers are nothing new, marijuana legislation has created fresh concerns and a renewed debate on the subject of what it means to be impaired behind the wheel. Recent testing results show that a surprising number of truckers have marijuana in their systems while driving, including truckers operating in the San Francisco area.
If you believe that your truck accident was caused by an intoxicated trucker, you should get in touch with Mary Alexander & Associates as soon as possible. Our qualified attorneys can guide you toward a positive outcome. You can hold trucking companies accountable for this type of negligence, as it is their responsibility to hire sober, responsible drivers.
50% of All Positive Drug Tests in Trucking are for Marijuana
On June 13, 2023, the American Transportation Research Institute reported that approximately half of all positive drug tests in the trucking industry are for marijuana. This means that there is a high number of truckers currently on the road with marijuana in their systems. While a positive drug test can rob a trucker of their CDL, many slip through the testing system and continue to drive in various states of impairment. It is worth noting, however, that marijuana stays in a person’s system for longer than virtually any other drug – long after the actual effects of the narcotic have worn off.
There were 100,000 drivers who tested positive for marijuana and were removed from duty; this occurred over a two-year period from 2020 to 2022. This drug dilemma is contributing to a continued shortage of drivers, causing trucking companies to use increasingly creative (some would say desperate) methods to attract new truckers. The situation has become so dire that both trucking companies and the truckers themselves are arguing for drug testing reform. In other words, they want to make it easier for truckers to drive with marijuana in their systems, thereby lowering the number of suspended or revoked CDLs.
Lowering the standards would obviously put average motorists in danger from intoxicated drivers. Once again, the American people are being forced to choose between a functioning trucking industry and road safety. Making it easier to attract and maintain truckers may lead to higher profits for trucking companies, but it certainly does not protect the safety of motorists in San Francisco.
Federal vs. State Marijuana Laws
The conflict between state-level marijuana laws and federal drug regulations is once again taking center stage. It is a well-known fact that California has legalized the recreational use of marijuana. One might argue that a trucker can theoretically still drive legally after a single beer, providing their BAC level is below 0.04%. Some might also argue that a single beer really is not all that different from a single joint or a hit from a bong. But comparing marijuana and alcohol in such a manner is difficult, as they are two completely different substances. For one thing, alcohol leaves a trucker’s bloodstream within 24 hours at the very most. On the other hand, the presence of marijuana may be detected even if a trucker last smoked more than a week prior to the test.
What Truckers and Carriers Say About Marijuana
According to recent surveys, most carriers would hire truckers even after they tested positive for marijuana, as long as period of time passes before they get behind the wheel. Most carriers wanted truckers to be drug-free for at least five years before hiring them. The majority of carriers also say that a marijuana impairment test should replace a marijuana use test. The difference between these two tests is that while the former assesses whether a tucker is currently “high,” the latter assesses whether they have marijuana in their system. This echoes wider struggles in road safety and the lack of a Breathalyzer equivalent for marijuana impairment rather than simply the presence of marijuana in the bloodstream.
Trucking Companies Use Various Methods to Attract More Drivers
The trucking industry is becoming increasingly creative in its attempts to address the driver shortage plaguing not only their bottom line but also the American economy as a whole. Some companies, such as Kodiak Robotics, are moving forward with fully automated trucking, eliminating the need for human drivers altogether. Some argue that these AI-powered trucks would be safer due to the lack of intoxication, reckless driving, fatigue, and other human errors. Others point out that there are still serious questions and safety concerns regarding self-driving trucks.
Other companies, such as Schneider International, are targeting younger audiences with even more innovative strategies. The company is now directly advertising through a popular video game called American Truck Simulator, which has sold more than two million copies around the world. Within the game world, players drive down highways, make deliveries, and experience what it feels like to be a trucker. If they take a closer look at the billboards they pass in this digital world, they will see recruitment ads for Schneider National. The trucking company hopes that these young gamers will make the switch from virtual trucking to real-life trucking.
While this is certainly an interesting recruitment strategy, one has to wonder what kind of drivers it will attract. The CDL age requirements have already been dropped from 21 to 18, meaning that 18-year-old gamers could soon be in control of real semi-trucks barreling down highways in the San Francisco area. But real-life trucking is not a game, and people’s lives are at stake. Even worse, federal changes could allow these 18-year-olds to smoke copious amounts of marijuana throughout their careers.
Where Can I Find an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in San Francisco?
If you have been searching for a truck accident attorney in San Francisco, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured motorists pursue positive results and fair compensation. During your first consultation with us, we can assess your unique situation and determine the best route forward. An injury claim can provide you with compensation for medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and much more. Reach out today to get started.