Truck drivers often live solitary lives, and this is one of several reasons that substance abuse rates are high within the industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety recently created a Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse that seeks to identify truck drivers who violate substance abuse rules to help keep them off the nation’s roads.
According to Fleet Owner, the clearinghouse came into effect in early 2020 in an effort to eliminate loopholes that were allowing truckers who abuse drugs or alcohol to continue to drive. All fleet and trucking company owners must register their drivers within the database within a specific timeline and may face sanctions for not doing so.
The clearinghouse has now been in effect for more than a year. However, only information about its first 11 months in operation is currently available. So far, the clearinghouse has revealed several key findings. First, today’s truck drivers abuse drugs and alcohol at alarming rates. Second, many fleet owners and carriers had not yet entered their truck drivers’ information into the database as required.
In its first 11 months in use, FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse turned up more than 50,000 violations. The most common violation was a failed drug test, which constituted about 85% of all trucker violations. Another 12% of truckers who received violations received theirs for refusing to take drug tests at all.
While these high rates of substance abuse are concerning for all motorists, so, too, is the fact that about 10% of those cited for substance abuse violations in the database are already back out on the roads.