Illicit Drug Use and Driving by Australian Long Haul Truck Drivers: Reform Starts With Rehabilitation

Davey, Jeremy D. & Richards, Naomi L. (2004) Illicit Drug Use and Driving by Australian Long Haul Truck Drivers: Reform Starts With Rehabilitation. In 17th International Conference on Alcohol Drugs and Traffic Safety, T2004, 8-13 August 2004, Glasgow, UK.


Long haul truck drivers have historically been a "special interest group" in the area of drug use and driving. Australian research work in the late 80's and 90's indicated that the prevalence of illicit drug use among truck drivers was in the range of 30%- 45%. More recent Australian investigations (using an ion scanner) by police into the presence of drugs in the cabs of long haul trucks has found that approximately 30% (and in some instances up to 70%) of truck cabins tested positive for illicit drugs. Historically most research into drug driving by truck drivers has been undertaken from an industry management and operational perspective or associated with fatigue management. Such a specific focus preludes the broader behavioural, contextual and cultural issues associated with substance use itself. To date little knowledge from the research discipline of substance use has been transposed into this field of road safety. The following paper reports on current research being undertaken by CARRS-Q into the culture of drug use by long haul truck drivers. This project is being undertaken in two phases the first being a series of in-depth focused interviews with 35 drivers. These qualitative interviews were approximately 2 hours in duration and interviewees had been driving for an average of 18 years and their mean age was 40 years. The second phase of the research will be an anonymous self administered written survey questionnaire distributed at sites across the State (N = 300-500).

Using Howard Becker's framework of a career path in drug use this paper will discuss the research findings of the qualitative investigations into the development of and interrelationships between dependent, recreational and work related drug use behaviours by Australian long haul truck drivers. The paper will discuss how an understanding of the drug use behaviour can inform the broader behaviour and management issues of drug driving in the trucking industry. The paper will also report on how the findings from phase one will inform the development of the larger written survey questionnaire in phase two.

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ID Code: 9364
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: commercial transport, drug use, rehabilitation
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > TRANSPORTATION AND FREIGHT SERVICES (150700) > Road Transportation and Freight Services (150703)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (111705)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 (please consult author)
Copyright Statement: The contents of this conference can be freely accessed online via the conference’s web page (see link).
Deposited On: 07 Sep 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2009 03:59

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