Drug and alcohol testing leads to driver shortages

According to Chris Harvey, a top analyst at Wells Fargo, the federal criminalization of cannabis and the resulting drug testing warrants in the United States have been the main cause of rising costs and labor shortages. works in the transport sector.

Harvey is head of an equity strategy at Wells Fargo Securities and had addressed the issue on a conference call earlier in February. Additionally, he discussed the challenges associated with cannabis testing in the trucking industry.

“If you listened to a conference call or a thousand conference calls, what did you hear? Logistics, transportation costs, trucker costs are all going up and it’s going to continue to happen,” Harvey said. “And the reason is very simple. And some of you know it and others it may be new. It’s really about drug testing. We have legalized marijuana in some states, but obviously not all but some. And what you have as a trucker is that you have a federal drug testing warrant.

While US federal transportation law states that safety-sensitive jobs such as trucking require drug testing policies, proponents and opponents of cannabis legalization have argued that THC metabolites may be detectable. by testing weeks after cannabis use.

Because of the truckers’ mandate, “we’re excluding a significant portion of this trucking industry,” Harvey said. “And so, that’s going to further aggravate a very tight market.”

According to a report by the New York Post, more than 72,000 truckers have been pulled from the roads since January 2020 due to testing positive for THC.

Additionally, a major US trucking group, the American Trucking Associations (ATA), reported that the current shortage includes 80,000 drivers and could reach 160,000 by the end of the decade.

“If it’s a choice between an empty truck and a drug-impaired driver, we’ll take an empty truck,” Dan Horvath, vice president of safety policy for ATA, said in his interview with FleetOwner.

However, Horvath also added that he fully supports the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse.

“We are absolutely a champion of the [clearinghouse]. We defended it before its creation,” he said.

“A few times here recently, because we quoted clearinghouse numbers, it was taken in the context that we don’t support it. This is not the case, at all. We continue to support him. »

The ongoing movement to legalize cannabis in more states beyond the current 18 states is for trucking companies, “State legalization is a problem. Nothing has changed since [U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)] perspective. It’s still a banned substance. Just because you live in a state where marijuana is legal doesn’t mean you’re exempt from the DOT testing regime,” Horvath said.

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