Truckers across Pennsylvania and the rest of the nation often lead lonely, solitary lifestyles. This is one of several reasons substance abuse is common across the industry. The substance abuse problem in commercial trucking has become so notable that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration created a Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse to track drug and alcohol violations received by truckers and enhance public safety.
Per Fleet Owner, owners of trucking companies have to follow certain clearinghouse mandates that require them to review the backgrounds of truck drivers they employ and hire. Failing to follow clearinghouse rules and regulations may lead to thousands of dollars in fines.
The Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse first came into operation in early 2020. It allows fleet owners to conduct two types of queries. The first type, a limited query, reveals whether a certain truck driver has any drug or alcohol violations in their driving history. However, it does not go into detail about those violations. A full query is more comprehensive and reveals not only whether a truck driver has substance abuse violations, but also what the nature of those violations are.
Between January and November 2020, trucking companies made about 2 million searches in the clearinghouse. Those searches revealed roughly 50,000 trucker substance abuse violations, 85% of which involved truckers taking and failing drug tests. Another 12% of truckers who had violations listed in the clearinghouse received them for refusing drug tests.
The commercial trucking industry is on pace to lose up to 52,000 drivers every year due to clearinghouse violations.