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America’s Problem with Trucker’s Under the Influence

The trucking industry has a huge problem. In 2020, America’s truck drivers had a total of 78,000 drug and alcohol violations, a great number of which were recorded immediately after a serious accident. It’s clear there’s an issue with truckers under the influence, but just how deep does this problem go?


Truck drivers are strict about their alcohol use. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines forbid truck drivers from operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) higher than 0.04%, half that of the maximum BAC for drivers of standard vehicles. As a result of these restrictions, 2020 saw less than 1,200 DUIs between America’s 3.5 million truck drivers.

While the FMCSA regulations are keeping the roads safe from intoxicated truck drivers, it’s clear some work needs to be done with drug regulations.


In 2020, the FMCSA recorded 54,000 drug violations. If current trends stay the same throughout the year, 2021 could be even worse. Already, the number of violations in 2021 is about 40% higher than it was at this time last year.

Random drug tests are responsible for about 81% of reported violations. Overwhelmingly, truck driver drug tests come back positive for four substances:

  • Marijuana (54%)

  • Cocaine (15%)

  • Meth (10%)

  • Amphetamines (9%)

The data suggests that drivers who use these substances are more likely to be in a crash because of them. In 2020, nearly 3,000 serious truck crashes were caused by a truck driver who was using one of these substances or others at the moment of impact.

From the number of violations alone and the fact that they seem to be increasing, it’s clear that something needs to change. Random drug tests are suspending tens of thousands of drivers, yet thousands more are getting into crashes that cause catastrophic damage or even fatalities.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries or wrongful death in a trucking accident, we are here for you. To discuss your crash with an experienced Kansas City Truck accident attorney from Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, send us an email or call us at (816) 542-5999 for a free consultation.