The Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse's first monthly report revealed that of the 18,860 drivers in “prohibited status,” marijuana was by far the most reported substance used. Most of these drivers, however, have not begun their Return-to-Duty process.
"We agree this is a big problem, and many of those drivers might never complete the Return-to-Duty process," said Tom Moore, executive vice president of the National Private Truck Council. "Those drivers need to decide whether using marijuana is more important to them than working as a truck driver."
It's unclear if drivers are confused about the legality of marijuana use. It is lawful in 11 states for those over 21, and legal for medical use in 33 states. On the other hand, DOT rules are quite clear—and are reinforced by employers—that marijuana use disqualifies someone from commercial driving.
There will be a percentage of drivers are going to leave this industry after testing positive, particularly for marijuana. Positive tests are now captured in the Clearinghouse for a minimum of five years. Even if a driver completes the Return-to-Duty testing process, the record will remain for five full years.
Some companies will keep a driver after they test positive and sponsor their Return-to-Duty testing process; but other companies will not. They will just terminate a driver when they're positive or never hire a driver that has a positive drug record.
One positive note is that the overall number of drug violations is if someone's younger and they are just starting with this industry and they test positive, maybe they will rethink becoming a trucker.