Commercial trucks outweigh standard passenger vehicles, and for this reason, you run a high risk of suffering an injury or fatality if a truck strikes your vehicle. The chances of this happening increase quite a bit if the truck driver behind the wheel is also under the influence. Recent research shows this is a common occurrence on Virginia and U.S. roadways.
According to Fleet Owner, substance abuse in the trucking industry has become so common that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently enacted a Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse intended to help track and identify substance abuse violators.
The clearinghouse took effect in early 2020. All trucking companies have an obligation to conduct full queries within the clearinghouse of any new drivers they have hired within the past year. Trucking employers also have a duty to register their drivers within the clearinghouse and may face penalties and sanctions for failing to do so.
So far, the clearinghouse has revealed troubling statistics about how often commercial truckers abuse drugs or alcohol. Carriers conducted about 2 million clearinghouse queries within its first 11 months in use. Those queries turned up more than 50,000 truck driver substance abuse violations. About 85% of those violations involved truck drivers failing drug tests. Another 12% of violators were those who refused to take drug tests when asked.
Industry insiders assert that the trucking industry stands to lose roughly 52,000 truckers a year due to substance abuse violations. However, about 10% of violators are already back out on the roads.