Volume 2, Issue 4 – February 28th, 2014
Under pressure from Congress, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed the creation of a commercial driver alcohol and drug testing clearinghouse that would make testing records available to employers.
The proposal drew support from Bill Graves, President of American Trucking Associations, who noted that ATA has been promoting the concept for 15 years.
“It is unfortunate that it took so long for FMCSA 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,” Graves said.
Under the proposal, employers, medical professionals and testing labs will be required to record information about a driver who fails a drug and/or alcohol test; refuses to submit to a test; and who successfully completes a substance abuse program and is legally qualified to return to duty.
To ensure privacy, each driver 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 – just not as a driver or in any other safety-sensitive job.
In 2013, during 2,095 roadside inspections, just 0.23% of the time, drivers were placed out of service and cited for violating federal regulations governing alcohol consumption, and on 1,240 occasions, 0.13% of the time, they were cited for use of controlled substances.
“We are leveraging technology to create a one-stop verification point to help companies hire drug and alcohol-free drivers,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.
In the meantime, a bill has been introduced in Congress that would allow hair testing of commercial drivers for drugs, a method that some regard as superior to urine tests.