ATLANTA - A Channel 2 Action News investigation reveals confessions of big rig truckers high on local roads.
Stories often begin with a driver looking for a fix pulling into a truck stop and soliciting sex and drugs.
“Everything was fine until I ran out of money,” driver Steve Hoyle revealed in a taped confession.
He told investigators after exhausting all of his cash, he felt pressured to give up the keys to his truck to a crack addict and a drug dealer.
"My thing has always been to smoke crack. So I said, 'You know where any crack is?' And she said 'Yeah. Park the truck," Hoyle said.
Then Hoyle's load of Honda lawnmowers was stolen.
“It all starts with, 'let's just have a good time,”" said Keith Lewis, a retired Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent. Lewis investigated cargo theft, often encountering drivers who traded their load for illicit drugs.
"In many times, they are asking the driver, 'What do you have in the trailer?' and the driver will tell them, and then say, 'OK, we got a guy who will be here in 20 minutes.' Here is where we are going to have you take the trailer'," Lewis told Channel 2's Justin Farmer.
That is exactly what Lewis found when he investigated Juan Mason.
Mason said he bought $40 worth of crack.
When Mason ran out of money, the drug dealer continued to offer him drugs -- about $200 worth of crack cocaine -- and a prostitute.
"At that time, (the drug dealer) asked what I had in the trailer. He said, 'We are going to unload the trailer for spending my dope,"" Mason said.
Mason drove his trailer to a warehouse off Mountain Industrial Boulevard, and in 45 minutes, thieves had unloaded $42,000 worth of fruit punch.
It’s unclear how often drugs and alcohol are a factor in trucking crashes. When Channel 2 requested that information, federal government officials said they no longer keep track. Michael Goldberg, an attorney who deals with crashes, said most of his cases involve tractor-trailer accidents and that close to 10 percent involve a truck driver possibly high or drunk on the road.
"We've seen a number of cases where the drivers had red flags all the way down the line -- that if somebody had just been paying attention, they would have know this was a prime candidate to use alcohol and drive or to use drugs," Goldberg said.
Farmer said the industry requires 50 percent of all truck drivers to be tested randomly, but that's not always foolproof.
"Let's say we are talking about a driver who works Monday-Tuesday. He can smoke crack on a Friday night and then he's got (until) Monday to get it out of his system," Lewis said.
The Georgia Motor Trucking Association said on average, only 1 percent of all truck drivers fail their random drug tests. The American Motor Trucking Association is pushing to require the use of drug tests using hair samples, which would catch more offenders.