A recent press release issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) discussed their proposed national drug and alcohol testing clearinghouse for commercial truck and bus drivers.
As federal regulations stand right now, employers have to conduct a mandatory pre-employment screening of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder’s qualifications based upon his or her driving record. There is not, however, a single federal repository recording positive drug and alcohol tests by CDL holders that employers can search to ensure the driver is able to perform safety-sensitive duties.
To remedy this situation, the FMCSA would like to establish a drug and alcohol clearinghouse for all national commercial driver's license holders. Employers would be required to conduct pre-employment searches for all new CDL drivers and annual searches on current drivers. They believe the clearinghouse would help improve roadway safety by making it easier to determine whether a trucker is forbidden to drive a commercial motor vehicle for failing to comply with federal drug and alcohol regulations, including mandatory testing.
Under the proposed rule, FMCSA-regulated truck and bus companies, medical review officers, substance abuse professionals, and private, third party USDOT drug and alcohol testing labs would be required to record information about a driver who fails a drug or alcohol test; refuses to submit to a drug or alcohol test; or successfully completes any substance abuse program and is legally qualified to return to duty.
For privacy reasons, CDL holders must give consent before an employer can access their records. If the driver does not give consent, they can still be hired, but they will not be allowed to occupy safety-sensitive positions such as operating a commercial motor vehicle.