Commercial trucks are a common site across U.S. freeways. Yet, when the employees driving those trucks abuse drugs or alcohol, they endanger everyone they encounter on the road. In 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration established a Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, which is a database that details truck drivers who have a history of substance abuse violations.
Per Fleet Owner, the registry exists to help fleet owners identify truck drivers with substance dependencies and reduce the number of them who are out on the roads. Trucking companies that fail to follow all clearinghouse guidelines may face fines and sanctions for failing to do so.
Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse details
Trucking companies have an obligation to run limited and full queries of certain drivers they employ by specific dates. Companies that fail to do so may face fines as high as $2,500 for each offense. Employers also have an obligation to report any substance abuse they witness or become aware of so that this information may appear in the clearinghouse during future searches.
Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse findings
During the first 11 months of the clearinghouse’s existence, fleet owners conducted about 2 million queries of new and existing truck drivers. Those queries revealed about 50,000 violators. Failed drug tests were the primary reason truckers received violations, with 85% of violators receiving their violations for this reason. However, another 12% of truckers with substance abuse violations listed in the clearinghouse received them for refusing to take drug tests.
The trucking industry is set to lose tens of thousands of drivers each year as a result of clearinghouse violations.