Trucking is a serious job! Forty tons of freight on a vehicle that is 75 feet long and bends in the middle is not something to be taken lightly. It takes skill, dedication, and training above other drivers on the road. If you add drugs and alcohol to the mix you are making a bomb that is traveling at 100 kilometres per hour and has the potential to do harm to many at once.
Here we are in the heart of Holiday Season with an increased presence of police enforcement with RIDE Programs and new technology for evaluating impairment putting driver impairment front and centre on the map of safe driving. But is it working?
Recently there have been an increase in driver impairment among truck drivers with alcohol or drugs. The last few reports on this the drivers were not in any type of incident but were found impaired after being stopped for another violation such as a traffic stop or inspection. Why is impairment among truck drivers increasing?
To be fair driver impairment has been in the news more over the last year with cannabis becoming legal over the last couple of years in Canada and the Holiday Season approaching. You would think with the amount of awareness and the increase in monitoring of drivers by carriers that the numbers for impairment would be going the other way, yet they seem to be increasing.
What is the answer to decreasing the trend upwards of impairment among drivers. Is it more information or additional training? Is it breathalyzers in every truck such as they have for those that have been convicted of offences?
Here are a couple of articles talking about impairment issues. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/policing/police/community-safety-policing/impaired-driving/drug-impaired-driving.html and https://madd.ca/pages/impaired-driving/overview/cannabis-and-driving/
When I talk with other drivers at safety meetings and shows many of them have the same opinion in the fact that drivers know the importance of keeping their licences free of violations and the fact that it can greatly reduce opportunities for their career in the future. If drivers know this then why are we continuing the trend upwards.
I believe common sense needs to be added to training. As an industry we spend a lot of time training drivers for compliance to ensure the carrier can show insurance that they are keeping up on safety, but how many are training based on leadership, professionalism, and common sense decision making. How many carriers included drug and alcohol training in their training over the last year on a regular basis?
As an industry we have to start policing ourselves in a number of areas from impairment to safety to tax evasion. As we get more people involved in the industry from other cultures and Countries where laws may be different we have to enhance those standards that make our industry professional. As an industry we invest a lot of money in technology and equipment but if we can’t help a driver understand the importance of being free of drugs and alcohol and good decision making we will always be a threat to other motorists on the road. Please be safe this Holiday Season and don’t drink or do drugs when about to drive.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com