Government Issues

FMCSA proposes drug, alcohol testing clearinghouse

Posted on February 12, 2014

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a rule to establish a drug and alcohol clearinghouse for all national commercial driver's license (CDL) holders.

The clearinghouse would help improve roadway safety by making it easier to determine whether a bus or truck driver is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle for failing to comply with federal drug and alcohol regulations, including mandatory testing.

Current federal regulations require employers to conduct mandatory pre-employment screening of a CDL driver's qualifications based upon his or her driving record. However, there has not been a single federal repository recording positive drug and alcohol tests by CDL holders that employers would be able to search to ensure that the driver is able to perform safety-sensitive duties.

The proposed rule would create such a repository and require employers to conduct pre-employment searches for all new CDL drivers and annual searches on current drivers.

"We are leveraging technology to create a one-stop verification point to help companies hire drug and alcohol-free drivers," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "This proposal moves us further down the road toward improving safety for truck and bus companies, commercial drivers and the motoring public everywhere."

Under the proposed rule, FMCSA-regulated bus and truck; medical review officers; substance abuse professionals; and private, third-party U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) drug and alcohol testing laboratories would be required to record information about a driver who:

  • Fails a drug and/or alcohol test.
  • Refuses to submit to a drug and/or alcohol test.
  • Successfully completes a substance abuse program and is legally qualified to return to duty.

Private, third-party U.S. DOT drug and alcohol testing laboratories also would be required to report summary information annually. This information would be used to help identify companies that do not have a testing program.

To ensure the privacy of drivers involved, each CDL holder would need to provide his or her consent, before an employer could access the clearinghouse.

Drivers who refuse to provide this information could still be employed by the bus or truck company; however, they could not occupy safety-sensitive positions, such as operating a commercial motor vehicle.

To view a copy of the Federal Register announcement, click here.

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