Commercial truck drivers across Pennsylvania and the rest of the nation have a duty to exercise care and caution behind the wheel. Yet, sometimes, truck drivers take unnecessary risks behind the wheel that endanger everyone they encounter. Research shows that the number of commercial truckers using drugs and alcohol on the job is rising rapidly. When truckers drive under the influence, it raises injury and fatality risks for everyone in the vicinity.
According to the Commercial Carrier Journal, data from the first three months of 2021 shows that truck driver substance abuse infractions are on pace to exceed those seen in 2020. The data comes from a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2020. The clearinghouse tracks trucker substance infractions to prevent substance abusers from getting behind the wheel.
Truck drivers and alcohol infractions
Though not as common as drug infractions among commercial truck drivers, alcohol infractions are still far too frequent. Since its inception, the clearinghouse logged 1,552 alcohol-related truck driver infractions. Some of those violations involved truckers who had blood-alcohol infractions that exceeded the legal limit. Others involved truckers refusing to take alcohol tests, among other violations. In the first three months of 2021, the clearinghouse reported 367 alcohol-related violations.
Truck drivers and drug infractions
Since the FMCSA first established the clearinghouse, there have been 69,100 trucker drug violations logged within it. In the first quarter of 2021, there were already 14,234 drug-related trucker infractions, the majority of which involved marijuana.
Truck drivers with drug and alcohol violations must follow a return-to-duty process before they may resume driving trucks for a living.