Trucking Industry Turnover Falls As Researchers Seek To Identify, Deter Drivers Under Influence Of Marijuana

(TB&P) — A research organization of the trucking industry recently released a study on the safety impacts of marijuana-impaired driving and provided several recommendations to address the issue as driver turnover falls.

The driver turnover rate at large truckload carriers declined nine percentage points to 78% in the fourth quarter of 2018, from the previous quarter, according to trade organization American Trucking Associations (ATA). The rate is 10 percentage points lower than it was in the fourth quarter of 2017. For 2018, the turnover rate rose two percentage points to 89%, from 2017.

“The driver market continues to be tight but not quite as much as the middle of 2018,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The overall trend late last year was that turnover is slowing. There can be various reasons for this — either freight volumes are decelerating and as such fleets pulled back on recruiting efforts or fleets’ efforts to increase pay are paying dividends in the form of reduced turnover. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but it is a trend that bears watching.”

While the use of recreational marijuana is allowed in 10 states and the District of Columbia and 33 states have approved the use of medical marijuana, American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), a nonprofit research organization for the ATA, has studied how this might impact the safety of truck drivers as they are more likely to be sharing the road with motorists under the influence of marijuana. The research organization’s Research Advisory Committee in 2018 identified marijuana-impaired driving as a top safety research priority, and the new report offered solutions to marijuana-impaired driving.

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