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FMCSA Now Taking Comments on Clearinghouse Proposal

February 20, 2014

By Oliver Patton

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration aims to plug some holes in the regulatory net with its proposed clearinghouse for drug and alcohol test results.

The clearinghouse, which has been on the safety wish list for 15 years, is designed to prevent commercial drivers from hiding drug or alcohol violations and ensure that carriers are meeting their responsibility to test for substance abuse.

The agency published the proposed rule in Thursday’s Federal Register and asked for comments by April 21. It will post a final rule after it has reviewed the comments and made adjustments if necessary.

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The rule will set up a system in which everyone associated with the federal drug and alcohol testing program will have to report test results, refusals to take a test and return-to-duty results.

That includes carriers, Medical Review Officers, Substance Abuse Professionals and the consortia that offer testing services to the industry.

In addition, carriers will have to report their drivers’ traffic citations for driving under the influence.

And laboratories that provide drug-testing services will have to report summary information on their tests every year.

All of this will go into the clearinghouse, a searchable database. Carriers will be required to look at the data, with the driver’s permission, before they hire a driver. As is currently the case, the rule will require carriers that contract with owner-operators to treat those drivers as employees when it comes to reporting to and querying the database.

The clearinghouse will be administered by FMCSA, and the proposed rule establishes the terms of access.

The rule is designed to shore up weaknesses in the current system.

For instance, drivers can get away with not reporting positive tests to prospective employers. Or, after testing positive in an application, a driver might wait until the substance clears his body before applying with a different carrier.

“As a result, such drivers continue to operate (trucks) after violating the drug and alcohol regulations without completing the required return-to-duty process,” the agency says.

The agency now uses compliance reviews and new entrant safety audits to check on carrier compliance with the testing requirements. That nets only a small percentage of the 520,000 carrier employers.

“As a result, many motor carrier employers that do not have a testing program may go undetected,” the agency says.

And the new entrant audits show that as much as 86% of would-be carriers have not yet set up a testing compliance program.

The new rule is designed to plug those gaps by requiring all drug testing labs to file an annual summary report showing the carriers they serve. The agency will use that information to identify carriers that do not have a compliance program.

Comments

  1. 1. Fritz [ February 21, 2014 @ 06:12AM ]

    Government shall not pass any laws that doesn't apply to them!! World would be a safer place if government didn't have dopers an alcoholics in control of our troops.. An their finger on the button!!!

  2. 2. BILL DOLLOFF [ February 21, 2014 @ 08:57AM ]

    ITS ABOUT TIME I THINK THIS IS GREAT. NOW IF WE COULD FIND OUT IF APPL. ARE X FELONS AND THE REASON WHY.

  3. 3. haller [ February 27, 2014 @ 11:16AM ]

    I don't understand, The FMCSA is now taking comments!! I was under the impression you college people knew what you are doing, now you want my comment on what you've done and what you have planned for the future. I still don't get it.

  4. 4. Jean-Paul Geurts [ March 15, 2014 @ 05:16PM ]

    Question:what do you thing is the effect of the Elogs,is it really making the streets safer? i have the answer.NO IT WILL NOT.Are we doing that bad,we truck drivers? and if so would it not be better to educate driver more so thy are safer on the road.The Elog will cost the consumer unnecessary money,loads are not on time and carriers are charging more for shipping loads because of the need of more driver.Education of the drivers is way more effective as putting Elogs in trucks,and when you have better high skill drivers than it's getting safer on the road.And when you have high skill driver than you are able to call them Professionals,for now we are low skill workers so in my eyes we are not Professionals.

 

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