More commercial truck drivers across Virginia and the nation are testing positive for drugs. This is concerning for all motorists and passengers who have to share the roads with these individuals. Drug use is on the rise among commercial truckers despite the fact that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse in 2020 to track and penalize substance-abusing truck drivers.
According to ESR Check, data collected in the clearinghouse during the first eight months of 2021 revealed telling findings of the prevalence of substance abuse in trucking.
Trucker substance abuse statistics
The number of positive drug tests taken by commercial truck drivers rose 13% between January 2021 and August 2021. During that time, marijuana was, by far, the most common drug abused by this audience. During the first eight months of 2021, there were 21,438 truck drivers who tested positive for marijuana. During the same eight-month span the year prior, there were 18,252 truckers who tested positive for the substance.
Trucker return-to-duty protocols
Truck drivers who receive substance abuse infractions in the clearinghouse have to take a series of steps before they may return to their truck driving careers. They must follow a certain return-to-duty protocol before doing so, but research shows that many truckers neglect to do so. As of August 2021, there were 87,438 truckers with violations logged in the clearinghouse. Yet, only 17,501 had completed the protocols necessary to return to their jobs.
Different substances affect truck drivers in different ways. However, all drugs have the potential to impact a trucker’s driving ability and make him or her a significant threat to public safety.