Wells Fargo, founded in 1852, is the fourth-largest bank in the United States. The Financial Stability Board regards it as a systemically important financial institution. Its chief equity strategist, Chris Harvey, commented during a conference call in the second half of February 2022 that the dearth of truckers in the United States is the result of drug testing.

The United States is short of trucker because they have to be tested for cannabis. Photo: Philip Pessar

The United States is short of trucker because they have to be tested for cannabis. Photo: Philip Pessar

56% of test failures are down to cannabis, while amphetamines account for 18%, cocaine 15% and opiods 4%. Harvey isn’t alone. A politician, the Democrat Representative Ed Perlmutter, attributed the labour shortage in the US Postal Service to drug testing.

Drug testing for truckers

While 18 states and Washington DC permit cannabis for recreational purposes, 38 and DC allow it for medicinal purposes. The federal government, however, forbids it altogether. In 2020, it decreed that truckers have to take drug tests that look for cannabis. Last year, the New York Post reported that 72,000 truckers failed drug testing. Jeremy Reymer, the chief executive of industry recruiter DriverReach, called this “a staggering number.” Transport Topics analysed government data and found that this number has been going up. The American Trucking Association (ATA) holds that there was a nationwide shortage of 80,000 truckers in 2021.

If you fail a drug test, you go on a database for five years

Since 2020, truckers who fail a drug test are put onto a federal database, the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, for five years. This enables other trucking companies to steer clear of them. One co-director of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, Steve Keppler, commented that before that, “drivers were testing positive and … job-hopping.”

Nobody will want drivers to be stoned. But one drawback of drug testing is that traces of cannabis can be found up to a month after usage. This means it isn’t showing that people are driving while high.

Employers dislike testing for cannabis

The Transforce Group runs schools that teach truck driving and supplies drivers. Its safety expert, Scott Duvall, wrote by email that testing should be for impairment at that moment, not recent use. A second employer, who withheld their name, estimated that as much as 15% of applicants for a job as a truck driver get rejected for using drugs.

The Chef’s Warehouse distributes food to high-end restaurants throughout the United States. It’s short of around 1,000 drivers. Its CEO, Chris Pappas, told the Post that his company would like to hire certain people, “but they can’t pass our drug tests.” The people turned away are “a big enough number that it hurts.”

The implications of allowing this DIRE SITUATION to continue

Almost everything sold in every shop in the United States travels the last mile by truck. The ATA’s chief economist, Bob Costello, affirmed that if the situation goes unchanged, the day will come when people go to a supermarket, and rather than there being seven varieties of apple, “there are only three because a shipment didn’t make it in.”

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