The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently created a Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to reduce substance abuse in the industry and protect the motoring public. The clearinghouse tracks violations commercial truckers make with regard to drinking alcohol or using other substances. Early findings suggest that substance abuse is occurring far too much within the industry.

According to American Trucker, the clearinghouse began tracking violations in early 2020. Since then, there have been more than 8,000 positive substance abuse tests among truckers. The administration initiated the clearinghouse as part of its MAP-21 highway funding law, estimating that it should help save as many as 900 lives every year.

Alcohol-related risks

Drunk drivers endanger everyone on the roadway. Drunk truck drivers may be even more of a highway hazard. Alcohol consumption hinders driving ability in many ways, and it often results in slower reaction times and poor judgment.

When truck drivers abuse alcohol, they become less likely to be able to react to emergencies. Alcohol abuse also affects vision, which may make it more difficult for truckers to stay in their own lanes or judge distance.

Drug-related risks

Truckers who use drugs also create threats for everyone on the road. Amphetamine abuse is particularly common among truckers, many of whom use these substances to increase alertness.

Abusing amphetamines leads to dangers. It may make truck drivers feel “invincible,” which in turn may lead them to take unnecessary risks behind the wheel. The use of these substances may also cause truckers to experience “crashes” later that lead them to drive while fatigued, which may increase crash risks.

Other clearinghouse objectives

While the clearinghouse gathers information about substance abuse in the trucking industry, it has other purposes, too. Sometimes, truckers who violate substance abuse rules while working for one company fail to disclose their violations to new employers. The clearinghouse gives employers something to reference when making new hires, helping them avoid those who abuse drugs or alcohol.