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FMCSA registry offers insight on substance abuse in trucking

Published on May 24, 2021 at 3:40 pm in blog, truck accidents.

Truck drivers across Pennsylvania and the nation assume a certain degree of responsibility. Part of this responsibility involves staying sober and exercising solid judgment while out on the road. To help combat drug and alcohol abuse in commercial trucking, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration created a Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. The clearinghouse looks to identify truckers who abuse substances and penalize them accordingly.

Per Fleet Owner, the clearinghouse is a database containing information about truck drivers and any substance abuse violations they have received throughout their careers. Trucking company owners have to follow specific mandates relating to the clearinghouse. If they fail to do so, they may face fines and sanctions.

Clearinghouse compliance requirements

Trucking companies had to run limited queries within the clearinghouse of all CDL drivers they used by a specific deadline to avoid facing fines and sanctions. They also had an obligation to run full queries on any new drivers they hired within the past year by a certain timeframe.

A limited query turns up information about whether a driver has resolved or unresolved substance abuse violations. However, it does not detail what those violations were. A full query provides a more comprehensive picture of a trucker’s substance abuse history and turns up specific information about drug or alcohol violations.

Clearinghouse findings

The clearinghouse first came into operation in 2020. About a million queries conducted within its first 11 months turned about 50,000 drug and alcohol violations. About 12% of violators received their violations after saying they would not submit to drug or alcohol tests. The majority of violators, or about 85% of them, received violations after failing drug or alcohol tests.

The main idea behind the clearinghouse is to keep truckers who abuse substances off the road. Yet, about 10% of those with are already back on the roads.

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