TruckingInfo.com recently announced a drug and alcohol testing clearinghouse proposed by FMCSA. The clearinghouse would be a system to help employers determine whether a truck or bus driver is prohibited from driving commercially for failing to comply with federal drug and alcohol regulations.
The proposed new rule would require employers to conduct pre-employment screenings on all new drivers and applicants as well as annual searches on current drivers. The clearinghouse would help companies hire drug and alcohol free drivers and hopefully improve safety for truck and bus companies.
Truck/bus companies, medical review officers, substance abuse professionals, and third party DOT drug/alcohol testing labs would be required by law to record information on drivers who fail drug/alcohol tests, refuse to submit to a test, and who complete a substance abuse program and are therefore allowed to return to duty.
Drivers would have to provide consent before a potential employer could access the clearinghouse, but those who refuse could not occupy safety-sensitive positions (like driving a CMV) with the company.
Improved safety of all CMV drivers.
This new drug and alcohol rule will lead to an improved safety of all CMV drivers — truck and bus drivers alike. If employers can prevent hiring applicants who have failed drug or alcohol tests in the past, the roads will potentially become safer.
More resources to make hiring decisions.
With the proposed clearinghouse, employers will be able to make more knowledgeable hiring decisions if they can see that a driver ever tested positive for drugs and/or alcohol. This drug/alcohol clearinghouse is in addition to existing methods of making hiring decisions, like checking an applicant’s MVR and performing a background check, so employers can hire safe drivers with more confidence.
One system to record results.
The proposed clearinghouse will also make it easier to keep track of everything in one place. Because all positive drug/alcohol tests and refusals will be stored in one system, it will be easier to find a particular person and check whether there’s any restrictions on him or her driving as a result of drug or alcohol tests.
Limited job positions if drivers refuse.
Under the new clearinghouse rule, drivers are allowed to refuse employers permission to look them up in the system. If an applicant refuses, s/he can still be employed by the company, but they are no longer qualified to work safety-sensitive positions like driving a CMV.
What are your thoughts on this proposed drug and alcohol clearinghouse? Let us know in the comments below!