The Federal Center for drug and alcohol information exchange, which implemented for commercial drivers in January, reported that by the end of September, nearly 40500 drug tests had been positive, and more than half of the results were from pre employment tests.
Larry Minor, the associate administrator for policy at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), provided the statistics Nov. 17 during a presentation to attendees on day two of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) Federal Forum Plus online conference.
The data shows that drugs were the reason for nearly 98% of all positive drug tests recorded during the first eight months of the year, with alcohol accounting for only 892 individual cases. More than half of the total 40,433 positive test results were for marijuana use.
Susan Miller, the lead transportation consultant at the Colorado Department of Education and the NASDPTS board secretary, asked Minor if FMCSA is considering relaxing its requirements on commercial drivers’ use of marijuana.
“The bottom line for CDL holders is you can’t use marijuana, even though you have states that allow people to use marijuana on a recreational basis,” he responded, adding that no excuses for a positive marijuana test are being accepted by medical review officers.
Minors do notice that some legal drug treatments may lead to positive tests, which will lead to medical review officials contacting individual drivers to determine if there is a legitimate medical cause.