• ITVI.USA
    15,707.730
    81.870
    0.5%
  • OTRI.USA
    23.490
    0.230
    1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,707.910
    79.950
    0.5%
  • TLT.USA
    2.800
    0.010
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.390
    -0.060
    -1.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.840
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    -2.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.510
    -0.070
    -4.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.290
    0.080
    2.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.980
    -0.060
    -2.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.900
    0.100
    2.6%
  • WAIT.USA
    124.000
    -3.000
    -2.4%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,707.730
    81.870
    0.5%
  • OTRI.USA
    23.490
    0.230
    1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,707.910
    79.950
    0.5%
  • TLT.USA
    2.800
    0.010
    0.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.390
    -0.060
    -1.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.840
    -0.080
    -2.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.510
    -0.070
    -4.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.290
    0.080
    2.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.980
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.900
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  • WAIT.USA
    124.000
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Driver issuesNewsTrucking Regulation

Drivers getting caught in FMCSA’s drug clearinghouse net

‘Full query’ trend evidence database working as intended, trucking regulatory expert asserts

The increasing number of full queries made into the federal Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse is evidence that the database is taking drug abusers off the road as intended, according to a trucking regulatory expert.

According to the latest monthly statistics released Monday by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, full queries into the clearinghouse increased 33% to 13,785 between October and November, which followed a 61% increase between September and October. Full queries are conducted by employers on current drivers after receiving a “hit” on those drivers through a limited query.

A major motivation for the FMCSA’s clearinghouse, which opened on Jan. 6, was to close a loophole that had allowed drivers with drug or alcohol violations to get hired by trucking companies by lying about test failures.

“Drivers with violations are getting caught in the clearinghouse net, as intended,” David Osiecki, president and CEO of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, told FreightWaves.

Queries conducted in the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse as of Dec. 1, 2020. Source: FMCSA

Also of note in the latest statistics, Osiecki said, was a 54% month-over-month increase in the number of limited queries into the database. “This is a clear sign employers are complying with the annual query requirement for their current drivers,” he said.

Employers — including owner-operators operating under their own authority — are required to run at least one query of their employees per year. The requirement can be met by conducting either a full or limited query. Employers have until Jan. 5 to perform their first annual query.

Osiecki pointed out one concerning trend throughout the 11 months that the clearinghouse has been up and running: the low percentage of drivers with violations who have been treated and cleared for return to duty, which affects overall driver retention in the trucking industry.

While that percentage has increased from roughly 5% earlier in the year to 11% in November, the number is “still stubbornly low,” he said, and “bears close watching going forward.” 

Positive drug tests reported in the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse as of Dec. 1, 2020. Source: FMCSA

Meanwhile, the number of drivers failing drug tests fell 12.7% in November compared to the previous month. As of Dec. 1, marijuana has been by far the No. 1 substance identified in 50,627 positive drug tests submitted since the clearinghouse began operating in January, at 53%. Cocaine was next at 14.3%, followed by methamphetamines at 9%.

Related articles:

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.

62 Comments

  1. It’s the insurance company that pressures the trucking company.

    The hair test is a classic example of creeping totalitarian tyranny.

    Q) What is the purpose of the drug test?
    A) To make sure drivers aren’t driving while impaired.

    Okay. Fair enough. So why the hair test to test and see if a driver smoked a joint eighy days ago? Obviously, this driver wouldn’t be impaired even if true.
    You must understand, that is not what this is about. It’s about control.
    It’s about putting you in your place. Telling you that what you do on duty is their business. Telling you that what you do off duty is also their business. They own you, serf.
    Now know your role, shut your mouth, and get back to work, knave.

    1. This clearinghouse junk is a straight money grab…Alcohol kills thousands..I’ve yet to hear of any marijuana related driving deaths..

      1. It’s more than that, albeit this is also factored in, I’m sure. Kind of an added bonus.

        It’s really designed as a form of dog training. A soft “reign of terror” of constant fear that somehow you’re going to test positive even if you don’t do drugs.

        That’s right. These hair tests are notorious for false positives. They are so sensitive that even if you’re around somebody smoking pot, and you’re not, it could very easily test you positive. The darker you’re hair, the more likely.

        I know for an absolute fact that state Child Protection Agencies use hair tests on children to see if their parents are using drugs around them, not so much for the children themselves. They can tell the difference.

        So can the DOT, but unfortunately there is no option check off box on the results report that state “Was around someone doing drugs, or a benign, legal, perhaps over the counter chemical that mimics an illegal drug.”.
        No. It’s either negative or positive.

      2. One more added point: These hair tests are so sensitive and notorious for false positives that this is the sole reason why the DOT and FMCSA haven’t implemented them years ago.

        Too many potential lawsuits. The company’s that use hair tests now, in addition to the official plss test, make you sign your rights away to sue them ahead of time. As of now, I am not certain if there are any court challenges to this practice.

        Seems pretty shady to me. But, hey, money talks. All of this is a presentation of how money talks unfolding before your eyes, including the rosy faux “fanatical drug warrior” media narrative that never presents the other side.

      3. One more added point: These hair tests are so sensitive and notorious for false positives that this is the sole reason why the DOT and FMCSA haven’t implemented them years ago.

        Too many potential lawsuits. The company’s that use hair tests now, in addition to the official urine test, make you sign your rights away to sue them ahead of time. As of now, I am not certain if there are any court challenges to this practice.

        Seems pretty shady to me. But, hey, money talks. All of this is a presentation of how money talks unfolding before your eyes, including the rosy faux “fanatical drug warrior” media narrative that never presents the other side.

      4. One more added point: These hair tests are so sensitive and notorious for false positives that this is the sole reason why the DOT and FMCSA haven’t implemented them years ago.

        Too many potential lawsuits. The company’s that use hair tests now, in addition to the official plss test, make you sign your rights away to sue them ahead of time. As of now, I am not certain if there are any court challenges to this practice.

        Seems pretty shady to me. But, hey, money talks. All of this is a presentation of how money talks unfolding before your eyes, including the rosy faux “fanatical drug warrior” media narrative that never presents the other side.

  2. I was I the clearinghouse but now I have been through a drug program and passed 26 drug tests but still can’t find a driving job.27 year veteran I have logged over 5 million miles

    1. Nor will you find any decent company to hire u. I know a 40 plus yr veteran who can’t get becuz of false positive he used synthetic urine trying to show people that these are not accurate and unfortunately he is now wishing he hadn’t becuz he disputed it and requested it retested the test was never reran becuz the employer must pay for the retest even if they then are able to recoup the money refused to pay it. They don’t call and offer u b the chance to pay for it either

  3. Ah yes, well you haven’t demonstrated proper subsurvience, as well as obedience to the assigned authority, as well as Chairman Xi.

  4. If they would if they would drug test you for marijuana like they drug test you for the Dangerous Drug alcohol there would be ten times more people flunking the drug test for alcohol because you’d they would have to go back 3 months for alcohol like they do for marijuana when you only stay under the influence of marijuana for four hours not three months that’s why you have such a high rate of marijuana positive cuz they are not positive they are actually false positive they are t h c stuck in your fatty tissue that doesn’t come out for 3 months on most people

  5. I have someone i know who used fake urine just to see what it showed and they now are on it becuz it came back showing positive for methamphetamine. The problem is these tests are not fool proof and good drivers that do not use are getting hit with false positives. Certain energy pills or liquids can cause u to test positive. Drivers beware.

  6. One more added point: These hair tests are so sensitive and notorious for false positives that this is the sole reason why the DOT and FMCSA haven’t implemented them years ago.

    Too many potential lawsuits. The company’s that use hair tests now, in addition to the official plss test, make you sign your rights away to sue them ahead of time. As of now, I am not certain if there are any court challenges to this practice.

    Seems pretty shady to me. But, hey, money talks. All of this is a presentation of how money talks unfolding before your eyes, including the rosy faux “fanatical drug warrior” media narrative that never presents the other side.

  7. Hey guys does someone try to change state license after finishing return on duty program ?
    I finished everything exept follow up testing also record on cdl for 5 years that’s sucks too long to be marked..
    if you like change license and make new accound with fmcsa while you are not in prohibited status???

  8. dear sir.i’m from sri lanka. i am trailer truck driver. cargo container transport and 8 car lord carcarrier transport driver. please sir your company driving job vacancy please. please help me.+94 775548509 whatsApp

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