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The FMCSA Recorded 56,000 Truck Driver Drug and Alcohol Violations in 2020

truck speeding down a tunnel

It is illegal, and extremely dangerous, for anyone to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is even more critical for truck drivers who operate vehicles in excess of 80,000-lbs to never drive under the influence since crashes involving big trucks can result in large-scale devastation.

While there are many federal and state regulations in place to prevent truckers from driving while intoxicated, many drivers choose to violate these laws. In fact, an alarming report published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recorded over 56,000 drug and alcohol violations by truckers in 2020. Learn more about this report and the implications it may have for motorists on the road.

What Were the FMCSA’s Findings?

The FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse databases recorded over 56,000 truck driver drug and alcohol violations in the last year. The number of violations increased sharply in the final two months of 2020; roughly 10,000 violations were reported in November and December.

The vast majority of these violations were drug-related; only 1,203 were alcohol-related. Most of the drug test failures were associated with marijuana use. However, the fact that most of the violations were related to drug use highlights the well-known and alarming trend in the trucking industry of truckers using prescription or over-the-counter medications to stay awake to drive longer.

What Is the FMCSA Doing to Address This?

The FMCSA rolled out a Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse program in 2020 to enhance safety on the highways. The Clearinghouse is a database that gives the FMCSA, trucking companies, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and State law enforcement agencies real-time information about commercial truck driver drug and alcohol program violations.

What Does the FMCSA Clearinghouse Do?

  • Trucking companies now have an easier way to meet their pre-employment investigation and reporting obligations.
  • Truck drivers will have a difficult time concealing drug and alcohol violations from employers.
  • Roadside inspectors and others can ensure that drivers receive required evaluation and treatment before they are permitted to operate a commercial motor vehicle.
  • FMCSA can easily determine trucking companies are in compliance with testing, investigation, and reporting protocols.

What Does the FMCSA Clearinghouse Report Mean for Other Drivers?

The Clearinghouse report and other FMCSA data demonstrate the danger that intoxicated truckers pose to every other driver on the road. According to the FMCSA, prescription and over-the-counter drug use account for two of the top 10 factors associated with large truck crashes.

Obviously, the large number of drug and alcohol violations in the Clearinghouse report is distressing. The good news, however, is that the Clearinghouse system is now recording these violations and forcing employers to verify any violator’s status before they can get back behind the wheel. This should help reduce the number of accidents caused by impaired truck drivers.

How an Experienced Firm Can Help You After a Truck Crash

Truck crashes are complicated and require the careful gathering of evidence to build a strong claim. It is vital that you contact an experienced personal injury firm soon after your accident so you have the best possible chance to recover the compensation you need and deserve.

At Wisner Baum, our attorneys have aggressively and successfully represented countless clients injured in truck crashes over the last four decades. We know what it takes to win truck accident cases involving (among other issues):

  • Falsified logbooks
  • Near-limitless assets, including high-powered defense teams
  • Numerous parties involved

Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman has won over $4 billion in settlements and verdicts in complex cases. The following truck accident case results illustrate our experience in this area of the law:

  • $20 million commercial vehicle verdict for wrongful death against Ride the Ducks International
  • $15 million tractor-trailer vs. pedestrian for a catastrophic injury
  • $8.5 million truck accident verdict for wrongful death against Tyson Foods

If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, our team at Wisner Baum is here to help you through it. We are committed to helping truck crash victims heal, holding negligent trucking companies accountable for their actions, and removing dangerous drivers from the road. Our ultimate goal is to help every client obtain justice and make every trucking company safer.

We’re here to help you. Call Wisner Baum at (855) 948-5098 to schedule a free consultation.



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