Canada made Marijuana legal a few years ago after many States had gone the same route. It seemed like a logical choice to many Canadians however in the trucking industry it created some very grey areas for individuals that like to use the drug, but have a job that requires that they be drug free. The question now becomes what is drug free and how do people know?
I recently had a chat with a driver that does part-take in using Marijuana in his off time and believes he shows up for work, “fit for duty” as they say, but is he really? He is guessing and doing his best to leave enough time for the drug to go through his body before a shift but this is more of a guess and feeling. He is not tested regularly.
When training new students we often get questions surrounding the use of drugs and the workplace. The challenge is that they don’t know where they are going to work so we can’t give them any firm guidelines. Every workplace has their own rules and regulations and from an industry standpoint is that drivers need to be drug free when driving. Could this be causing the problem of our driver shortage?
The driver I talked to at Truck World said that he drives in Canada only due to hobby of drug use. Many students from our training classes that still like to dabble in Marijuana use are looking for Canada only work. It has been estimated that 10,000 truck drivers have lost their jobs in the United States directly related to drug use. Canadian companies that don’t operate in the United States often only test applicants when hiring, where as in the United States random testing regulations are in effect.
If we add the unforeseen Covid pandemic that caused many people to stay at home and possibly be even paid to smoke drugs with our employment regulations you can see why people wouldn’t be rushing out to get jobs.
Trucking can take over your life, as we say, “Trucking is not a job, but a lifestyle!” It is very hard to turn trucking off at 5:00pm and being a safety sensitive position it can cause you to rethink what you do on your time off.
So trucking becomes a lifestyle choice that many people may not want to consider, but is it hurting your career options? With companies raising wages in a big way in our industry and funding agencies have made thousands of dollars available for training people to get into the industry. Yet there still seems to be crickets at the job front. Even high paying carriers are struggling to fill their seats. If you are a new person looking at the trucking industry then you may have a hard choice to make. Give up a hobby that you enjoy and pass the option for a career of growth and excitement by continuing your drug use. The second choice is to stop using drugs and find work that you enjoy and fulfills you for the future. The future is yours!
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a veteran in the transportation industry with over 40 years in the industry in a variety of roles from driver to fleet supervisor and more. Today he is a media specialist in the industry producing a number of programs for the trucking industry such as his trucking podcast The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com or his radio station Lead Pedal Radio at www.leadpedalradio.com
Disclaimer: This article is written and based on the opinion of the author and is for general information only