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FMCSA registry offers insight on substance abuse in trucking

substance abuse in trucking

Today’s truck drivers lead solitary lives and often spend long stretches of time away from their loved ones. The job is also a demanding and sometimes boring one, and these are some of the reasons some truck drivers turn to drugs or alcohol. A new Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is revealing how many truck drivers are abusing substances.

Per Fleet Owner, the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse first took effect in 2020. The point of it is to identify truckers who abuse alcohol or drugs to help keep them across the nation’s roadways.

Early findings

Data on the clearinghouse’s first full year in operation is not yet available. However, during its first months in operation, trucking employers conducted about 2 million searches. Those searches turned up about 50,000 truck drivers with substance abuse violations.

About 12% of truckers cited for substance abuse violations received their citations after refusing to take drug tests. The vast majority, or 85%, of truckers who received citations, received them after failing drug tests.

Compliance requirements

Trucking company owners have to take certain steps to stay compliant with clearinghouse requirements. They have to run queries of all new hires. They also have to report any drug or alcohol violations their existing drivers receive. Failing to do so means they may face penalties, including fines totaling several thousand dollars or more per violation.

When truckers drive under the influence, they pose a threat to everyone on the roadway. Fleet owners have a duty to protect the motoring public as much as possible, and part of this involves complying with clearinghouse reporting rules.