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FMCSA To Require Truckers to Register With Federal Drug/Alcohol Database

The FMCSA recently issued new rules that will require drivers to register with a federal database before they can change jobs in the industry. Beginning on January 6, 2020, drivers will be required to register with FMCSA’s “Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse” as part of all future employment-related background checks. Drivers can begin registering voluntarily in October 2019.

This Clearinghouse will be a secure federal database that will collect and catalogue real time information about CDL driver drug and alcohol violation histories. This database will be accessible to the FMCSA, employers, state driver licensing agencies, and law enforcement officials. The database will log driver drug and alcohol test failures, including:

  • Report for duty/remain on duty for safety-sensitive function with alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater or while using any prohibited drug;
  • Alcohol use while performing, or within four hours of performing, a safety-sensitive function;
  • Alcohol use within eight hours of a post-accident alcohol test;
  • Test positive for use of specified drugs (post-crash test, a pre-employment drug screening, or a random drug test)
  • Refusing to submit to a required alcohol or drug test

In addition to violation information, it will also have information on whether the driver has completed the necessary steps to return to duty following a failed test. Therefore, current and future employees will be able to view full drug and alcohol violation histories for current and prospective drivers. The drivers themselves will also be able to review their records and dispute any errors that may be found.

Trucking companies will be required to access the Clearinghouse, in addition to requesting traditional drug and alcohol violation histories from a driver’s previous employers, when hiring a driver. After January 6, 2023, the past three years of drug and alcohol violation information will all be stored in the Clearinghouse and manual record requests will no longer be required before a driver is employed.

The Clearinghouse will not store past violations. It will only begin to store violations as of the date the database goes live. Overall, the FMCSA has the goal of giving “employers, FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and State law enforcement to quickly and efficiently identify drivers who are not legally permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) due to drug and alcohol program violations.” More information on the Clearinghouse is available at the following link: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/CDL-D-A-Clearinghouse_FAQs-V05-1-508.pdf

If have any questions, please contact Steve Setliff (ssetliff@setlifflaw.com) at 804-377-1261 or Justin Thatch (jthatch@setlifflaw.com) at (804) 377-1270.