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New FMCSA registry shows substance abuse common in trucking

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2021 | Truck Accidents |

Commercial trucks play an important role in American commerce, but new research is shining a light on just how often truck drivers are abusing substances. When they abuse drugs before getting behind the wheel or while sitting at it, they endanger everyone they come across.

Per Fleet Owner, in 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted something called a Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. The clearinghouse is a database containing information about whether truck drivers have substance abuse violations. The goal of the clearinghouse is to help keep drug abusers from holding commercial trucking jobs, and it has revealed key information during its first 10 months in use.

Clearinghouse findings

Among the more notable findings revealed by the first 10 months of the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse is how often truck drivers are abusing drugs on the job. During that time, potential employers conducted about 2 million queries of specific truck drivers to determine whether they had substance abuse violations.

Those queries turned up 50,000 substance abuse violations, 85% of which involved truckers having positive drug tests. Another 12% of truckers searched had refused drug tests, which is also a violation. About 10% of the violators the clearinghouse revealed in its first 10 months in existence have already returned to the nation’s roads.

Compliance issues

The number of truck drivers receiving substance abuse violations is troubling. So, too, is the number of fleet owners failing to comply with clearinghouse requirements, such as reporting their workers’ infractions.

Companies that fail to meet the guidelines stipulated by the clearinghouse may face hefty fines, among other sanctions.