Twenty-eight states now allow the use of medical marijuana, and approximately 80 million Americans can legally enjoy recreational use of the drug following the Nov. 8 vote, according to the Associated Press. However, the Department of Transportation has indicated that in spite of these gains, marijuana use remains off limits for truck drivers who travel the roadways of North Carolina and other states across the nation.
In responses related to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado and the use of marijuana for medical purposes, the DOT effectively stated that its established drug testing policies and programs for truck drivers would not change. As late as Nov. 9, 2016, a spokesperson for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicated that the DOT could not make any change to its policies unless approved by the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.
As was true when DOT addressed the issue in 2012, marijuana is listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Because they are considered to be safety-sensitive employees who are subject to drug testing, DOT has said that it remains unacceptable for truck drivers to use marijuana in any capacity.
A frequent cause of commercial truck accidents is truck driver impairment. Although there is yet no accepted scientific test to measure marijuana impairment in a person’s body, marijuana could have an effect on a driver’s reaction time. An attorney who is representing an occupant of another vehicle who has been injured in such an accident will review the available evidence, including the police report and eyewitness testimony, in an attempt to pinpoint responsibility.