FMCSA Proposes Clearinghouse For Drug, Alcohol Test Results

Posted in: Business Factoring News, Freight Bill Financing News, Freight Factoring News, Freight Hauling Financing, Freight Hauling News, Trucking Finance News, Trucking Financing News- Feb 18, 2014 No Comments

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last week published a proposal that would establish a national clearinghouse of drug and alcohol test results for truck drivers.

Under the proposal, employers would be required to check the clearinghouse before hiring a driver and to conduct searches on current drivers at least once a year.

“Today’s proposal will help ensure dangerous drivers stay off the road while encouraging the employment of the many safe drivers who follow our drug and alcohol requirements,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in the announcement Feb. 12.

FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said the proposal “moves us further down the road toward improving safety for truck and bus companies, commercial drivers and the motoring public.”

Under the proposal, truck and bus companies, medical review officers and drug and alcohol testing laboratories would be required to record information about a driver who fails a drug or alcohol test, or refuses to submit to a test.

American Trucking Associations President Bill Graves praised the plan.

“ATA has been a strong advocate for the creation of this process to help protect motorists since 1999,” Graves said. “It is unfortunate that it took so long for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to act on this common sense safety solution, but we are pleased the agency has finally taken the first step toward creation of this clearinghouse.”

The proposal was not yet formally published in the Federal Register by press time. Once it does appear, a public comment period must take place before the rule could be finalized.

FMCSA said companies also will have to supply information on drivers who complete a rehabilitation program for substance abuse and are legally qualified to return to duty.

Drivers will have to provide consent before an employer could access the clearinghouse, but anyone who refuses to provide this information would not be permitted to drive or hold any other safety-sensitive position, FMCSA said.

Federal law requires trucking companies to test new hires, drivers involved in significant crashes and when a supervisor suspects a driver of using drugs or alcohol at work. Firms also must randomly test 10% of licensed drivers for alcohol and 50% of drivers for drugs each year.

FMCSA officials said they will use information supplied by testing labs to identify companies that do not have a testing program.

ATA said the rule will help close a loophole that allows violators of the drug and alcohol regulations to escape the consequences of their actions by seeking employment with other firms.

Separately, the Transportation Department said another long-awaited rule, one on electronic logging devices, is expected to be released Feb. 27.