Licensed truck drivers are leaving the workforce in droves as outdated marijuana testing requirements are being strictly enforced. As many as 40,000 commercially licensed truck drivers failed federally mandated drug screens for marijuana in 2022. Many of these drivers who failed the tests are refusing to return to their jobs due to the governments inability to adapt to the changing world. These numbers come from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a branch of the US Department of Transportation.
Federal laws require commercially licenses drivers to undergo random marijuana urinalysis testing, which tests for the presence of the inert carboxy-THC metabolite. The non-psychoactive metabolite is detectable in subjects’ urine for months following cannabis consumption. The US DOJ issued a statement on this matter saying that these tests only account for past exposure instead of testing for impairment. This is becoming an issue due to the widespread legalization wave of cannabis. Many workers around the US are choosing to consume on their free time, facing the repercussions during work hours. Although many of the drivers are not high while driving, the cannabis they consumed while off the clock is causing them to lose their jobs.
Truck drivers are leaving the industry in droves, saying they will only come back if the government updates their testing methods. Why should drivers be allowed to consume cannabis off the clock and then be punished days, weeks, or even months after consuming in their leisure time.
Truck drivers are a vital part in the economy here in the United States and around the globe. Without them, many goods and services would come to a screeching halt. Anything from groceries in stores to goods purchased on Amazon all take a truck at some point or another. Without the drivers to deliver the goods to their designated location, the US economy could suffer tremendously.
Without proper implementation or at bare minimum updates to the drug testing methods used by the Department of Transportation, we could expect more drivers to quit each year. Congress is yet to take any drastic action to resolve this issue. Will action only be taken after serious consequences or will the government step in to resolve it now?
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