The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last week created a national clearinghouse for commercial drivers’ drug and alcohol test results.
The purpose of the central repository is to prevent CDL holders with positive test results from moving to different states where the records would not follow them, as reported by Kevin Jones of Fleet Owner.
“This is a major safety win for the general public and the entire commercial motor vehicle industry,” said FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling. “The clearinghouse will allow carriers across the country to identify current and prospective drivers who have tested positive for drugs or alcohol, and employ those who drive drug- and alcohol-free. Drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol will no longer be able to conceal those test results from employers and continue to drive while posing a safety risk to the driving public.”
Once the clearinghouse is established, motor carrier employers will be required to query the system for information concerning current or prospective employees who have unresolved violations of the federal drug and alcohol testing regulations that prohibit them from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). It also requires employers and medical review officers to report drug and alcohol testing program violations.
The clearinghouse final rule's annual net benefits are an estimated $42 million, with crash reductions resulting from annual and pre-employment queries, the agency notes. This is noteworthy in that an impact of $100 million or more would make the final rule a "significant regulatory action" meaning it would not go effect for 60 days. The clearinghouse rule is set to effect 30 days after publication, on Jan. 4—and would, therefore, be in effect before an expected regulatroy moratorium by the Trump administration. Inauguration Day is Jan. 20.