The impact of cannabis legalization on the trucking industry, the recent decline in drivers due to strict rules on drug use in drug testing, is already well documented. But a new report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) digs deeper.
report The book, “Impact of Marijuana Legalization on the Trucking Industry,” explores the latest demographic trends in cannabis legalization, reviews research and data on highway safety and cannabis use, It summarizes the impact on workforce and employment and analyzes publicly available CDLs. Driver drug test data.
It also delves into the opinions of truck drivers and carriers about cannabis, and both find that the majority support changes to current drug-testing policies, suggesting that the amount of cannabis imposed on drivers is increasing. Policy analysis, detailed drug testing data, and detailed research are also being conducted. I am involved in research on cannabis, traffic safety, etc.
Driver Shortage and Cannabis Legalization
In 2019, ATRI released its first research publication on the impact of cannabis legalization on the trucking industry. Citing the legalization or decriminalization of cannabis in a number of additional jurisdictions since then, ATRI’s Research Advisory Board conducted a survey last year and resolved to revisit the topic.
Drivers must have a commercial driver’s license to drive a heavy truck, and in the trucking industry in particular, current federal law prohibits anyone with a commercial license from using cannabis or making a dangerous dismissal. is obligatory. More than half of all positive drug tests in the trucking industry are for cannabis metabolites, according to the report and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
If a driver tests positive, the driver will be removed from the industry until a series of corrective actions are completed. Between 2020 and 2022, more than 100,000 drivers tested positive and were removed from work, according to drug and alcohol clearing house data.
“These positive tests have had an impact on the industry at a time when the national driver shortage has fluctuated between 65,000 and 80,000 in recent years,” the report said.
The report notes that the federal ban “has been highlighted as a potential deterrent to drivers staying in the industry, and that relaxing restrictions on marijuana use will make the industry more attractive and expand the potential workforce.” It is even claimed,” he said.
Valuable insight into cannabis opinion in the trucking industry
The 61-page report includes an increase in the number of truck drivers residing in recreational cannabis states from 2019 to 2023 (18.5% vs. 41.1%, respectively), recent cannabis road safety surveys, and federal requirements across the industry. And so on, information about cannabis and trucking is overflowing. , including a summary of drug testing data over the past decade.
Among the highlights are survey results on the opinions of drivers and carriers about cannabis. A majority of carriers (56.3%) said they were willing to hire drivers who had previously tested positive for cannabis, but more than half of that group (54.8%) said they would first pass a period of time. said there was a need. The most common duration increase reported was he at 5 years (37%).
Also, the majority of carriers (60.1%) reported a significant increase in positive pre-employment test results and rejections over the past five years, with nearly half (45.5%) of those noticing an increase. reported positive pre-employment tests or a notable increase in retirees. Certain age groups were more likely to test positive. Otherwise, the most frequently selected age group he was 26–35 years old (27.6%).
Most carriers (62%) said federal drug testing policies needed to be changed, requiring cannabis impairment testing instead of cannabis use testing (65.4%). While operators were largely aware of the flaws in the current model, a majority (40.9%) still said they were “extremely concerned” about driving impairment due to cannabis legalization.
Most drivers (55.4%) said they believed highway safety was not affected by legalized cannabis use, and 65% said cannabis use tests should be replaced with cannabis disorder tests. said.
The driver questionnaire also includes a text box where the driver can enter final comments about recreational cannabis. Most comments fell into two categories: those in favor of cannabis testing and relaxing the law (72.4%) and those in favor of the status quo (27.6%).
The report says there are two future federal avenues for cannabis, both of which pose challenges for the trucking industry.
If the federal ban is maintained, “the trucking industry will continue to have thousands of drivers banned each year, and many others will have jobs that do not test for marijuana use.” will,” the report said. ATRI says businesses can continue to implement zero-tolerance policies and maintaining the status quo could help resolve conflicts between state and federal policies.
The report also states that “a federal move to legalization is likely to ease the pressure on the industry’s driver shortage.”
“Highway safety is a central goal of the industry’s drug testing efforts. Current approaches support safety efforts, but the exclusion of drivers from the industry who do not exhibit a safety hazard is critical. It will bring efficiency,” he said, adding that the trucking industry needs to take several steps to ensure safety and lack of impediments before receiving federal requests. Efforts to legalize cannabis have paid off.