- A Wells Fargo executive says marijuana testing is causing a shortage of truck drivers.
- As more states legalize cannabis, drug testing standards for truck drivers have become stricter.
- By December, more than 60,000 truckers had been temporarily taken off the road for testing positive for marijuana use.
While grueling lifestyles and an aging workforce have led to a nationwide shortage of truck drivers, a Wells Fargo executive believes there’s another problem exacerbating the workforce crisis work – marijuana testing.
According to Chris Harvey, head of equity strategy at Wells Fargo, drug tests coupled with the nature of the job – which often requires truckers to spend weeks away from home – have led many truckers to leave the industry. . Harvey said the problem “will continue to push that price even higher,” compounding a spike in transportation costs that has left consumers facing price hikes and shortages.
“It’s really about drug testing,” Harvey told an industry conference on Wednesday. “We’ve legalized marijuana in some states but obviously not all… What we’ve done is we’ve shut out a significant portion of this trucking industry.”
The role of marijuana testing in employee screening has been in debate in recent years, especially as labor shortages continue to empower workers. At the same time, the use of marijuana is becoming more and more accepted: last year, a Gallup poll consumption habits revealed that 49% of American adults have used the drug at least once. To date, 37 states have legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes, while 18 have authorized the substance for recreational use.
But in recent years, drug policies in the trucking industry have become even stricter. Truck drivers are subject to random anti-doping tests on a quarterly basis, as well as in the event of an accident or ticket, depending on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Drivers who test positive are immediately removed from driving commercial vehicles, in accordance with the FMCSA.
In 2020, the trucking industry put in place a law this required that all truck drivers who had failed a drug test be listed in a federal database so other trucking companies would avoid hiring the drivers. Previously, drivers could theoretically switch to a new company who would not be aware of the positive doping test.
The law affected nearly 110,000 truckers, of whom about 56% were reported for marijuana use, according to government data starting in December 2021. These 60,000 drivers who have tested positive for marijuana use in the past two years could help fill the shortage of about 80,000 truckers reported by the American Trucking Association.
Since the database was launched, more than 6.4 million queries have been made to the site as of the end of December, as all employers must consult the database before approving a new driver. In December, more than 81,000 drivers were ‘banned’ from working – more than 75% of whom had not started along reassessment process needed before you can return to work.
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