Truck Accident News: 56,000+ Drug & Alcohol Violations Reported to FMCSA Clearinghouse in 2020
A clearinghouse that tracks drug and alcohol violations involving truckers and other commercial drivers received more than 56,000 incident reports in 2020, with the overwhelming majority for positive drug tests.
10,000 Violations Reported in Final Two Months of 2020
Last year was the first year of operation for the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. The database was established to prevent job-hopping among CDL holders due to a positive drug or alcohol test.
According to the FMCSA’s final report for 2020, the Clearinghouse logged 56,150 violations during all of 2020. Roughly 10,000 of those reports were submitted in November and December.
Only 1,203 of the total driver violations involved alcohol use, mostly drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater.
Marijuana use accounted for the most drug test failures, with 29,500. There were more than 7,940 positive tests for cocaine and 4,953 for amphetamines. About 1,120 reports were characterized as reasonable suspicion of attempts to cheat on a drug test.
Of the 45,000 violators who lost their jobs due to the infractions, 34,000 have yet to complete the required return-to-work program.
“The good news is that the system is working in capturing violations by drivers and allowing employers and enforcement personnel to verify a driver’s status prior to permitting him/her [to drive],” said FMCSA spokesperson Duane DeBruyne. “Any violation reported is a bad thing; blocking prohibited drivers from endangering themselves and the lives of the motoring public is a good thing.”
About the FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse
Federal rules require any entity employing CDL holders who are subject to FMCSA testing regulations to report drug and alcohol violations to the federal Clearinghouse, including:
- Reporting or remaining remains on duty with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater or while using any drug specified in FMCSA regulations, unless prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider
- Using Alcohol while performing, or within four hours of performing, a safety-sensitive function.
- Using alcohol within eight hours of an accident, or until their post-accident test, whichever occurs first.
- Testing positive for the use of specified drugs.
- Refusing to submit to a required alcohol or drug test.
In addition to truck and 18-wheeler drivers, the Clearinghouse requirement also applies to drivers of school buses, construction equipment, limousines, and municipal vehicles.
Employers must also query the database annually to ensure a CDL holder doesn’t have any outstanding violations.
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