Early last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration began tracking and logging truck driver drug and alcohol infractions. It did so to enhance roadway safety across Pennsylvania and the rest of the nation. Now, research compiled since the FMCA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse first took effect is revealing concerning information about the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse among professionals in trucking.
According to the Commercial Carrier Journal, the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse logged more than 69,000 trucker drug violations since early last year. It also reported another 1,552 violations for truckers driving under the influence of alcohol.
Currently, clearinghouse data from the first quarter of 2021 is available. It indicates a sharp increase in trucker substance abuse. Between the beginning of 2021 and late March, the clearinghouse logged 14,324 trucker drug offenses and another 367 alcohol-related infractions. If substance abuse infractions continue to pile up at the same pace through the rest of the year, there are going to be far more trucker substance abuse offenses this year than there were in 2020.
Of the more than 69,000 drug-related trucker substance abuse infractions detailed in the clearinghouse since it took shape in early 2020, 37,261 of them involved marijuana use. Marijuana was, by far, the most common substance abused by professional truck drivers. This is likely due to the fact that marijuana laws differ so much from one state to the next. Cocaine use came in second. The clearinghouse has logged 9,848 cocaine-related infractions since its inception.
Truckers whose violations appear in the clearinghouse often get back out on the roads after following a return-to-duty protocol. The protocol seeks to make them safer, more responsible drivers.