ATA President Announces New Subcommittee to Address Legalized Recreational Marijuana
American Trucking Associations President and CEO, Chris Spear, recently spoke about what he believes will shape a positive future for the industry.
At the ATA’s 86th Management Conference & Exhibition, Spear reminded the audience that “trucking employment now exceeds 7.8 million people” and how “trucks move more than 71% of the domestic freight.” And this also means trucking is a large part of our economy, which is why “the security of this country relies on trucks and the people who drive them.”
But with every industry there are hurdles and Spear addressed some of the challenges in the industry from driver shortage, to tort reform, and the easing of laws for recreational marijuana. “Eleven states, DC and Canada have now legalized the recreational use of marijuana, “ Spear stated. “And guess who gets caught in the middle,” he continued referring to the federal government which still prohibits marijuana use.
His solution was announcing, “the first meeting of ATA’s new Controlled Substances, Health and Wellness Subcommittee here in San Diego. We need a member-led policy platform that helps lawmakers, regulators and courts make informed decisions about the impact substance abuse is having on safety and interstate commerce.” It’s a step in the right direction by ATA, who recognizes while the trucking industry is mandated to follow federal laws and regulations, their truck drivers are moving freight through states with legalized recreational marijuana now.
Another big announcement at the conference by Spear was regarding drug testing, which happens at random with their drivers and after every crash. Spear stated ATA would work to push hair follicle testing instead of traditional testing and ask for those results to populate in the Drug Clearinghouse. Plaintiff attorneys and trucking companies find themselves in litigation against each other regarding safety on our roads, but Spears proclaimed these efforts are “to save lives, not our bottom line.” And saving lives is certainly something all of us can agree on.