Note: The following statistics should not be attributed to the U.S. Department of Labor, but rather their respective footnoted sources listed at the bottom of the page.
The transportation industry affects almost every aspect of our daily lives. Whether by road, rail, water or air, America's vast transportation networks are in use day and night moving people and goods to and from points across the country. Regrettably, alcohol and drugs are a factor in a significant percentage of transportation-related accidents each year. This alarming reality has serious consequences for employers and employees within the industry as well as members of the general public who rely on transportation systems. As a result, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has mandated that all industry employers maintain alcohol- and drug-free workplaces. By complying with governmental regulations and proactively addressing the issue of substance abuse, transportation employers help ensure success for their commercial enterprises and increase the level of safety for all travelers nationwide.
A Federal government survey revealed that rates of substance abuse among four different types of personnel within the transportation industry are as follows:1
Past-Year Illicit Drug Use (%)
Heavy Alcohol Use (%)
Truck Drivers (light)
Truck Drivers (heavy)
To address the rising rate of substance abuse in the US and the general safety of all people who travel within the country, Congress passed the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991. The Act requires transportation industry employers to establish and maintain alcohol- and drug-free workplace programs that incorporate both alcohol and drug testing.
Regarding their employers' efforts to prevent workplace substance abuse, transportation industry workers report:
- 76.1 percent provide workers with information about alcohol and drugs.
- 73.6 percent have written policies about employee alcohol or drug use.
- 52.9 percent provide access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) for employees who have drug or alcohol problems.2
Transportation workers report that the following types of drug testing are prevalent throughout the industry:
- At Hiring (62.7%)
- Random (52.5%)
- Upon Suspicion (48.9%)
- Post-Accident (58.8%)3
From large international corporations to relatively small local contractors, transportation firms are implementing and maintaining drug-free workplace programs to ensure productive workforces and safe workplaces — company features that ultimately result in increased profitability and success.
1 US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (1999). Worker Drug Use and Workplace Policies and Programs: Results from the 1994 and 1997 NHSDA. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services.