You’re not alone if your commercial vehicle operators have failed more drug and alcohol tests this year than they did last year.
Here’s the deal: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has reported a whopping 71% increase in the number of substance abuse violations in April of this year compared to last year. In April 2020, there were 3,123 violations. That number jumped to 5,348 violations in April 2021.
The data from the FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse also revealed that the drug most likely to cause a failed screening was marijuana, which has accounted for 54% of the positive drug tests so far this year. Other drugs that have caused failed tests this year include
• cocaine (14%)
• methamphetamine (9%)
• amphetamine (8%)
Many of the violations were uncovered during pre-employment screening. In April 2020, 1,668 violations were reported on pre-employment tests; in April 2021, 2,940 pre-employment testing violations were found.
The numbers also indicated a big uptick in failed tests for alcohol use. In April 2020, there were 76 testing violations tied to alcohol. That number leapt to 135 violations in April 2021, a 78% jump.
What it means to you: Keep in mind that federal law requires that operators who fail drug tests be removed from safety-sensitive jobs. Once a person fails a drug or alcohol test, however, it’s unlikely that he or she will come back to work. Data from the Clearinghouse showed a big increase in the number of operators who failed a screening but haven’t yet even begun the return-to-duty process.
(From the June 14, 2021, issue of Transportation Manager’s Dispatch. To start your no-obligation trial subscription to the publication right now, please click here.)