Driving a commercial truck in Texas involves a considerable amount of skill and responsibility. Yet, some truck drivers are taking steps that endanger everyone they encounter on the roadway. Research shows that the number of semi-truck drivers who abuse alcohol or drugs on the job is rising. This is concerning given how much substance abuse affects one’s ability to drive safely.
According to the Commercial Carrier Journal, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse at the beginning of 2020. The point of the clearinghouse was to identify truckers with substance abuse issues and prevent them from getting behind the wheel.
Fleet owners and trucking company employers have to abide by certain reporting mandates when it comes to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Fleet owners have to conduct pre-employment screenings to see if the drivers they are considering hiring have substance abuse infractions. They also have to report drivers who receive substance abuse infractions so that other potential employers are aware of the offenses. Fleet owners that neglect to follow clearinghouse mandates may face fines and sanctions.
Data from the first quarter of 2021 shows that both alcohol and drug infractions are increasing among this demographic. During the first three months of 2021, the clearinghouse reported 14,234 drug-related truck driver offenses. The majority of those offenses involved marijuana. The clearinghouse also reported another 367 alcohol-related infractions among truckers during the first three months of 2021.
If drug and alcohol infraction trends continue at the same pace for the remainder of 2021, the number of infractions listed in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse are going to drastically exceed last year’s numbers.