• ITVI.USA
    15,839.740
    -5.440
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.799
    -0.007
    -0.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.070
    0.480
    2.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,836.590
    -10.170
    -0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,839.740
    -5.440
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.799
    -0.007
    -0.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.070
    0.480
    2.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,836.590
    -10.170
    -0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
Driver issuesMost PopularNewsRegulationRegulatory AgenciesTruckload Indexes

CDL holders banned from driving due to drugs, alcohol top 60,000

Latest FMCSA data also shows that 22.1% of drivers with substance violations have been removed from prohibited status

The number of U.S. truck drivers sidelined due to substance abuse violations has surpassed 60,000 and continues to climb by roughly 2,000-3,000 per month, according to federal data.

The latest monthly report by the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration since January 2020, revealed that 60,299 CDL holders have a drug or alcohol violation recorded in the clearinghouse as of June 1, up from 57,510 as of May 1 and up from 18,860 recorded in the clearinghouse as of May 1, 2020.

Drivers with at least one substance abuse violation are barred from operating a commercial truck until they complete a return-to-duty process, which includes providing a negative follow-up test result. The percentage of drivers who are completing the RTD process has steadily increased over the past year, however, from 5.2% as of May 1, 2020, to 22.1% as of May 1, 2021.

Drivers in “not-prohibited” status are slowly increasing as percentage of those who are banned from driving.
Source: Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, FMCSA

Marijuana consistently tops the list of substances identified in positive drug tests, far outpacing cocaine and methamphetamine, the second- and third-highest drug violations, respectively, among CDL holders.

The number of violations now recorded in the clearinghouse stands out for another reason: It’s coincidentally just a few hundred shy of an estimated number of drivers needed to fill a shortfall of commercial drivers to keep pace with freight demand.

“According to a recent estimate, the trucking industry needs an additional 60,800 truck drivers immediately — a deficit that is expected to grow to more than 160,000 by 2028,” testified American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear at a Capitol Hill hearing on freight mobility in May.

“In fact, when anticipated driver retirement numbers are combined with the expected growth in capacity, the trucking industry will need to hire roughly 1.1 million new drivers over the next decade, or an average of nearly 110,000 per year.”

Scopelitis Consulting Co-Director Sean Garney pointed out that the growing number of prohibited drivers is not a bad thing from a safety standpoint.

“The database is doing what it’s supposed to do, which is identify those who should not be driving,” Garney told FreightWaves. “Losing drivers due to positive drug tests may not necessarily be a good thing for truck capacity, but I think what many others in this industry also care about is safety.”

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

23 Comments

  1. Know of some of these idiots, considered they were able to get a DUI driving in a car and not affect truck level license(Wrong) or live in a Pot approved use state or Med MJ legal state and got a quack to issue a script for it, still NOT allowed on a CDL.
    Idiots

  2. What’s the point of them doing a return to duty process when no company will hire them? Most companies won’t even hire you for 3 years if you receive an OOS during a roadside inspection..I’d like to see my stores stocked again so can we maybe stop with the overregulation bs?

  3. We need to legalize marijuana as a recreational use…like when you drink some wine with your dinner… It’s time we move forward in the right direction. It does not state weather these drivers were under the influence or not when tested

  4. How about reporting the high number that has never had any of those issues and been driving over 25yrs like myself! We never get anything for complying all these years and being safe for the public.

  5. It’s so sad and pisses me off that my coworkers can go home and drink at night and all weekend. But I can’t take a toke of marijuana to unwind and relax! I’d bet 95% or more of the drivers testing positive for thc were not under the influence at the time of the test.

  6. It is just stupid to think that safety has anything to do with me smoking a joint 3 days ago. Safety safety safety. But if I drink a beer three days ago I’m all good and that is the way it should be and that is also the way it should be with marijuana. What a person does on their own time is their own business as long as it’s legal like someone else posted legalize marijuana. And find a proper way to test for it. Like if it was used recently or couple days ago.

  7. Yeah they should only test us if we have an accident. And marijuana should not one of the things tested for at all. They’re ruining our livelihood and careers. And it should not be stuck on our records for more than a 6 months period. And once that 6 months is up we should only be allowed to be tested by employers not the DOT RTD process. Wake up DOT and change the regulations and RTD process.

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