Tractor-trailers are essential to the economy, as Americans rely on these massive vehicles to deliver vital goods throughout New Mexico and across the United States. Due to their large size and length, tractor-trailers require well-trained and qualified truck drivers.

Yet, some truckers are not qualified to operate a large truck at all. They may have had previous violations restricting them from driving a tractor-trailer.

The facts

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,862 people lost their lives in large truck accidents in 2018 alone. In New Mexico, large truck accident fatalities made up over 13% of traffic accident deaths that year.

Many of these accidents were caused by distracted, drunk and drowsy truckers who should have been prohibited from driving. Until recently, driving companies, law enforcement and other agencies lacked a central database to help them weed out dangerous truckers.

A look at the database

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration developed the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to help minimize the number of unqualified truckers on the road. This database gives professionals, such as substance abuse professionals, medical review officers, service agencies and employers, access to truckers’ profiles and critical information regarding their qualifications and licensure.

The clearinghouse can assist with the following:

  • Truckers who receive a drug and/or alcohol violation while working for a company is reported to the database.
  • Other employers are able to access this information.
  • Information regarding treatment programs, citations and other violations performed by the driver is included in the truckers’ profile.

Employers are required to run a check on all of their employees annually to ensure all truckers are qualified to be on the road.