An investigation of the working conditions of truck drivers in Australia has revealed that some are being driven to take drugs and ignore speed limits in order to meet grueling schedules and keep their jobs.
According to Associated Press reports, a group of researchers from the University of New South Wales is conducting an inquiry into corrupt work practices in the Australian truck industry.
Drivers testified that they feel they are forced to take drugs, such as cocaine, to stay awake while they are on the road because they are required to work extremely long hours.
According to one anonymous driver, "The schedules are very tight. They have to take drugs to meet client demand."
Judy Penton, a representative from Concerned Families of Australian Truckies, said the use of drugs by drivers was very well known in the industry. She said she was told on many occasions that tow truck operators arriving on the scene of an accident will regularly ask the drivers if they have any drugs they want to get rid of before police arrive.
Some drivers complained that they are not allowed to go home for family emergencies, such as family illnesses or deaths, and are often threatened with the loss of their jobs. Others revealed that many trucking companies only give work to drivers who agree to blow off the maximum speed limits.
A large group of drivers, along with the Transport Workers Union, are hoping the study will result in a code of practice for the industry, which they feel lacks regulation. The code would cover the entire eastern seaboard if it is recommended and approved by governments.