Federal Officials Establish Drug/Alcohol Test Clearinghouse for CDL Drivers
Last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule establishing a database/clearinghouse containing "information about violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program for the holders of commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs)." Mandated by Congress in the MAP-21 transportation bill passed in 2012, the purpose of the clearinghouse "is to maintain records of all drug and alcohol program violations in a central repository and require that employers query the system to determine whether current and prospective employees have incurred a drug or alcohol violation that would prohibit them from performing safety-sensitive functions..." According to FMCSA, this effort is aimed at improving "roadway safety by identifying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers who have committed drug and alcohol violations that render them ineligible to operate a CMV."
Specifically, the final rule requires:
•FMCSA-regulated motor carrier employers (such as ready mixed concrete producers);
•Medical Review Officers;
•Substance Abuse Professionals; and
•Third Party Administrators to report information about drivers who:
Test positive for drugs or alcohol;
Refuse drug and alcohol testing; and
Undergo the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process.
The rule requires employers to "annually search (or query) the clearinghouse for current employees, and during the pre-employment process for prospective employees, to determine whether a driver violated drug or alcohol testing requirements with a different employer that would prohibit them from operating a CMV." However, before an employer or prospective employer can query the clearinghouse for a specific driver, the driver will have to consent first. The final rule goes into effect January 4, 2017 with a three-year compliance date set for January 6, 2020.