Commercial truck drivers are held to a much higher standard when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs when compared to the average motorist. This makes sense, since the stakes are much higher when it comes to commercial semi-truck drivers. Now the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed the establishment of a database that will contain information about driver drug and alcohol tests with the goal of preventing drivers with a substance abuse problem from slipping through the cracks and finding employment in the industry.
The FMCSA recently proposed the establishment of a Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which would function as a database containing information about controlled substance and alcohol test results of commercial truck drivers. All commercial driver license holders would be included in the database.
Under the proposal, commercial motor carriers, employers, medical review officers, substance abuse professionals, as well as third-party agencies would be required to report drug and alcohol test results to the database. These persons would also be required to submit information involving alcohol or drug test refusals, negative return-to-duty test results, adulterated and substitute drug test results as well as other kinds of data that relates to driver alcohol and drug use.Additionally, labs that provide commercial motor carriers with drug and alcohol testing services would be required to report information about testing activities and results.
This information would be made available to potential employers around the country, including prospective employers, current employers, and other agencies who would need such information. This would help prevent truck drivers who have positive drug or alcohol test results and have lost their job in one state from obtaining driving jobs in other states.Potential employers would have such information ready at hand, before they make the decision to hire a commercial truck driver.
The demand for commercial truck drivers is likely to explode over the next few years as the economy begins to improve further, and freight activities reach the levels that they were at before the recession. That means that more employers are going to feel the pressure to step-up their hiring activities, and could benefit from the kind of information the database will provide.
Apart from alcohol use, drug use is a fairly common problem among commercial truck driver sources. For many drivers, this problem begins as the practice of taking methamphetamines and other stimulant drugs to avoid sleep. Sleepiness and fatigue are major problems in the truck driver industry, and these drugs are used to ward off the affects of fatigue. This practice, however, has the potential to develop into an addiction, and there are several consequences of the use of these drugs that could affect a person’s ability to safely drive a commercial motor vehicle.
We’ll continue to watch the government’s actions on this important issue and update our blog with helpful information.