The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that a proposed rule establishing a database of CDL holders who have failed or refused to take a drug test will soon be published and made available for comment. The Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse would implement the database and require drivers to upload positive drug test results to FMCSA. The FMCSA would then query the database when hiring drivers.
The rule would be required by the current MAP-21 highway funding act. In addition to reporting failed and refused drug and alcohol test, carriers would be required to query the database annually for current employees and report traffic citations for drivers cited for DUIs involving drugs and/or alcohol.
Owner-operators are required by law to participate in random drug testing through a consortium. They must report to the FMCSA the consortium or third-party drug test administrator it uses and authorize it to submit information on any of its drivers (themselves included) to the database.
“We are leveraging technology to create a one-stop verification point to help companies hire drug and alcohol-free drivers,” said Anne Ferro, FMCSA Administrator. “This proposal moves further down the road toward improving safety for truck and bus companies, commercial drivers and the motoring public everywhere.”
Drivers aren’t going to be in the dark about their carrier accessing information about them, though, as carriers will be required to obtain written consent before submitting a query. Of course, if the driver refuses consent, he or she will not be permitted to drive.
Results can be appealed by requesting administrative review, which comes from submitting a written request and a written explanation of why he or she thinks the clearinghouse made an error. A decision from the FMCSA would come in 60 days or less. A driver successfully completing the return-to-duty process after failing a truck test will have his or her positive results accessible in the database for either three or five years.
FMCSA says the new rule would result in a $187 million annual benefit to society, but would cost the industry about $186 million annually. The bulk of that cost comes from an estimated $101 million in drivers going through the return-to-duty process.
After the proposed rule is published, the FMCSA will accept public comments for 60 days and can be made via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at regulations.gov, by fax (202-493-2251) or can be mailed/hand delivered to:
Docket Management Facility
U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590
All public comments must use docket number FMCSA-2010-0031.
Content brought to you by Open Road Drivers Plan, protecting your livelihood and CDL since 1989. Be sure to defend yourself against CDL tickets to ensure your license remains upstanding.