Decline Of Driver Supply Continues


Drug tests are a topic that we don’t love talking about. A positive test can feel like a lose-lose situation – you’re down another worker, and a driver is out of a job.

But this year, there’s no way around that elephant in the room. FMCSA requirements mean that more tests are being administered, and more drivers are testing positive for drug use. As of the first quarter of 2021, there were 14,303 positive drug tests – on track to beat 2020’s total of 55,955 positive tests. On top of that, an untold number of prospects don’t even consider signing up for CDL training because of the new requirements.

Just to get it out of the way, NTI doesn’t condone drivers on the road with drugs in their system. Situations like that are dangerous, and we don’t want that any more than the next motorist. But positive tests are leading drivers to self-select out (whether by avoiding regulated jobs or by leaving the industry altogether).

It’s something that our industry must contend with, especially when the pipeline for new talent is running low. As we’ve seen, drivers who leave because of a failed drug test aren’t coming back into the fold, whether for liability reasons or because they voluntarily leave the pool. With high turnover and a shrinking pool, nobody needs another reason to lose drivers.

It’s not an easy topic to confront, but in this thorny situation, we say that the best defense is a good offense. We recommend communicating the rules to your drivers on a regular basis. Training and education (especially in gray areas, like unregulated CBD use) can proactively improve health and safety and stem the flow of drivers exiting the candidate pool (more on this next month).