When it comes to recruiting, kids these days are perhaps the most vexing for trucking big wigs. Millennials and Gen Z just don’t seem to want to become truck drivers. The most recent report from the American Trucking Associations on the driver shortage pointed to the “relatively high average age” of a truck driver (a whopping 46 years old) as one of the foremost reasons for the industry’s labor woes. (The ATA is the industry group that represents America’s larger trucking companies.)
There seems to be some cognitive dissonance among these 18-wheeler executives, though.
In 2020, the industry celebrated the implementation of a law that would scare off the 22% of Americans under 30 who smoke marijuana. That’s the drug and alcohol clearinghouse, in which all truck drivers who have failed any sort of drug test must be listed in a federal database so that other trucking companies don’t rehire them. (They’re able to clear their names if they go through a process that includes meeting with a substance abuse counselor.)
The hope is to get drivers who abuse harmful substances away from 80,000-pound vehicles barreling down the highway. What’s actually happened is that the majority of those positive drug tests have involved marijuana. Some 73,000 drivers total have been booted from the road due to positive drug tests of any ilk, according to the most recent federal data.
It’s an antiquated position. Some 68% of Americans believe marijuana should be fully legal, and 70% believe consuming it is morally acceptable. Today, 18 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized cannabis for recreational use — and the majority of states have legalized it medically. Of course, it’s still federally classified as a Schedule I drug, so onto the drug test it goes.
Published: July 12, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News