Tackling Federal Challenges with Proactive Monitoring

The pervasive issue of drug and alcohol misuse in the United States extends its adverse effects to every facet of society and the economy. Unfortunately, the trucking industry isn’t immune, as evidenced by the rising number of positive drug test results among truck drivers. In the initial quarter of 2023 alone, there was a troubling 9.2% increase in truck drivers testing positive for marijuana. Additionally, a significant portion of these drivers have yet to enroll in return-to-work programs. These concerning statistics, drawn from the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, underscore the pressing challenges that fleet management faces. This presents a need for tackling federal challenges with proactive monitoring.

However, there are effective strategies to address instances of drivers testing positive for marijuana, and proactive monitoring stands out among them. Over the next few minutes, we’ll delve into this issue and explore how proactive fleet monitoring, specifically with TMS-Digital’s Proactive solution, can safeguard your fleet against the escalating drug and alcohol dilemma.


Understanding the Landscape of Drugs and Alcohol in Trucking

The Federal Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse serves as an online repository, offering real-time insights into CDL driver drug and alcohol violations for government agencies and employers. Since its launch in January 2021, the Clearinghouse has recorded a staggering 110,856 positive drug tests among drivers.

Digging deeper into the data reveals that 129,100 drivers remain on prohibited status after testing positive for 14 different types of drugs in tests administered by the Department of Transportation. What’s more concerning is that 97,833 banned drivers have yet to initiate the return-to-work program, despite 19,413 being eligible for retesting.

Marijuana emerges as the most prevalent issue, with 101,512 positive drug test results over the past three years, far surpassing other substances like cocaine, amphetamines, and oxymorphone. This trend mirrors the broader scenario in the U.S. workforce, where marijuana positivity rates have been on the rise, alongside amphetamines.


The Importance of Addressing This Issue

Ensuring driver safety, as well as the safety of others on the road, remains paramount in the trucking industry. The impairing effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana, can severely compromise a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely, affecting reaction time, memory, and coordination. Studies have highlighted a concerning correlation between increased cannabis use and a rise in traffic accidents.

For instance, a study by The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety demonstrated that fatal car crashes involving THC-positive drivers doubled following the legalization of recreational cannabis in Washington State. Moreover, the Quest data underscores the heightened risk of workplace injuries associated with marijuana use among drivers and fleet employees.

Furthermore, the large number of commercial truck drivers on the prohibited list exacerbates the ongoing driver shortage, estimated at around 78,000 drivers. This shortage is expected to worsen, reaching 160,000 by 2030, with fewer drivers on prohibited status taking steps to return to work.


Tackling-Federal-Challenges-with-Proactive-Monitoring-Middle-imageEmpowering Fleet Safety with TMS-Digital’s Solution

Thankfully, there are proactive measures available to shield your fleet from the risks posed by driver marijuana use. TMS-Digital’s Monitoring Solution offers a comprehensive approach to address potential driver issues before they escalate into significant liabilities.

By leveraging your existing License Monitor driver roster, our solution conducts regular and automated queries to the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse database. Should a record concerning one of your active CDL drivers surface, our dashboard promptly alerts you, prompting a comprehensive inquiry.


Key features of our Monitoring Solution include:

  • Flexible query scheduling (daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly) to the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse for active CDL drivers.
  • Risk mitigation by identifying issues proactively, ahead of the mandatory annual review.
  • Timely alert notifications within your License Monitoring dashboard, enabling swift intervention through counseling and education initiatives.
  • Seamless integration with your existing driver roster for immediate setup.
  • Convenient retrieval of driver-related documents from a secure centralized location.


Responding Effectively to Drug and Alcohol Challenges in Fleet Management

The evolving landscape of fleet management necessitates swift and coordinated responses to mitigate risks effectively. The surge in truck drivers testing positive for marijuana and other substances presents a formidable challenge, with impaired driving posing significant threats to safety, driver retention, and overall fleet operations.

To shield your fleet from the repercussions of a burgeoning drug culture, consistent drug and alcohol clearinghouse monitoring of active CDL drivers, provided by TMS-Digital, stands as your best line of defense. For more information, visit us today.

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