Carrier groups want expansion of drug database rule, petition FMCSA

| May 13, 2014

drug-testA coalition of trucking and enforcement groups has filed a petition with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration asking the agency to expand its February-proposed drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule to require carriers to report “actual knowledge” of drug use by drivers, including times they have seen drivers using drugs.

Related

Driver database rule made official: FMCSA unveils rule to implement drug/alcohol clearinghouse

A proposed rule establishing a database of CDL holders who have failed or refused to take a drug test will soon be published, FMCSA announced ...

In a comment posted on the proposed rule — which has a week left in its public comment period —  seven groups, including the American Trucking Associations, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, asked FMCSA to issue a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the rule.

They want the SNPRM to require employers to “report all instances of actual knowledge of misuse, including direct observations of misuse and acknowledgements of misuse, to the proposed clearinghouse,” according to the group’s letter.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association argues, however, that “only positive test results should be documented.”

“A driver’s permanent record should not be tainted by unverifiable accusations or assertions,” according to a statement from OOIDA.

OOIDA cited the petition as a reason for its request to FMCSA to extend the public comment period on the rule to May 21, from its original April 21. The agency granted the extension last month.

Related

Driver database rule made official: FMCSA unveils rule to implement drug/alcohol clearinghouse

A proposed rule establishing a database of CDL holders who have failed or refused to take a drug test will soon be published, FMCSA announced ...

The Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule was proposed in February Upon its effective date, likely late next year or early 2016, it will establish a database of CDL holder who have failed or refused to take a drug or alcohol test.

Carriers will be required to submit such information to the database and will be required to query the database when hiring a new driver. It will also be required to query the database annually for current drivers. Click here to read Overdrive’s coverage of the proposed rule.

The letter from ATA and others calls the lack of the requirement for carriers to report observational data a “longstanding loophole” in current regulations and one that would extend to the clearinghouse rule.

“Failing to capture [knowledge of use or direct observation] undermines the purpose of the clearinghouse,” the letter reads. “Under FMCSA’s current proposal, a driver could be observed engaging in misconduct or could actually admit to misconduct and successfully seek employment elsewhere.”

To see all comments on the rule or to make a public comment, visit regulations.gov and use the docket number FMCSA-2011-0031. The comment period ends May 21.

  • guest

    That is purdy funny…in the Old Days some company owners would SUPPLY drugs for the drivers to “stay awake”..and deliver on time…so there was no excuse for being late….now the cops want the COMPANY to tattle on the driver if he uses “uppers”?? Things have sure changed lol.

  • guest

    Billion Dollar mega fleets actually DO comply with all these drug rules…and all the other stuff too…they have DEEP pockets..and want to FORCE all the small companies to SPEND fortunes to COMPLY with more and more and more rules…until the truck cant even leave the Yard because it might be Out Of Compliance!!!! lol Those Billionaire companies LOBBY every single day in the halls of Congress to get the “Level Playing Field” set up to eliminate all competition…after all the “others” are UNSAFE!!!!

  • guest

    Its just a comedy…Billionaires idea of a JOKE…..nobody could take this industry seriously today…..Trucking Under A Microscope is what it is today….it is really tiring jumping thru all these hoops….Billionaires sit in their easy chairs with their feet up on their desk laughing their heads off just thinking about POOR truckers trying to eek out an existance…while their LAWYERS are reporting to them from CONGRESS about EVEN MORE hoops they are getting approved for some POOR trucker to jump thru.

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  • Stormy

    Well, I saw a truck driver for a large trucking company go in a convenience store and buy a single, cold beer and get back in his truck. I sure am glad that is all I know and all I am saying or I could be looking at one heck of a lawsuit that comes down to “he said, she said”. We have passed stupid and there are just no words to describe where we are now.

  • Safety Man

    Um as a Safety Director Ill deal with this on my own. I’m not going to get my Owner sued for something I can handle. Thank you whomever came up with this idea but no.

  • William McKelvie

    Please tell me what is wrong with you seeing him or her purchase a beer? PURCHASE is the keyword, right? Do you not purchase beer at a store? SMFH at people like you. I purchase beer at a store, put it in my car and drive home. That is his or her home while they are on the road, right? YES. Shhh be very very quiet, I am hunting dum dumz.

  • William McKelvie

    Really? Show me a company that is THAT large that knows who is and who is not using. From what I hear from the regulatory guys, it’s a freakin circus free for all at those huge companies.

  • Stormy

    Ynder this new proposed regulation I would need to report my observation, now wouldn’t that be a kick in the backside of somebody to find that reported on his alcohol /drug record. You need to look no further than the FMCSA to find dum dumz and if it is reported then you just say no I didn’t. You obviously haven’t been paying attention to the problems with CSA and DataQ.

  • diesel Mike

    What if some DM saw you smokeing a rolled cig amd thought it was a joint? That would mean he had “actual knowledge” of drug use? Thats what drug tests are for, proof!

  • J Mueller, CDS

    The correct procedure to handle this is already in the regulations – Reasonable Suspicion testing. If a Carrier “thinks” they see a driver misusing drugs, why wouldn’t the reasonable suspicion testing be implemented to avoid falsely accusing the driver of wrong doing or violation of the regulations. The test result will prove or disprove violations.

  • Stormy

    It sounds like you are trying to use a common sense solution. I have those Reasonable Suspicion testing forms and I have used them. Last I heard a person is innocent until proven guilty, My personal observation is proof of nothing but a drug/alcohol screening is. I think the big question when they get into this “he said-she said”scenario is if it is a safety issue or if it is a fair labor practice issue?

    But I think the next rule to be proposed by FMCSA in no common sense is allowed. Obviously, there is no place for common sense in trucking. I am not sure how trucking has managed to exist all these years with all the stupid and ineffective rules and regulations we have been working under for years.

    We need to just face it, FMCSA doesn’t think we are capable of thinking and driving at the same time – it’s distracted driving and clearly a safety issue. The fine of $11,000 will be a drop in a bucket compared to the settlement on that first lawsuit that gets filed over misinformation given on supposedly “personal observation” of drug and alcohol use.

  • Stormy

    I was being facetious about turning in drivers for “personal observation”. Looks bad, getting a single cold beer out of a ice cooler on a hot summer day and taking it to the truck. Yep, I buy beer at a store but I don’t buy beer and put it in my truck. I certainly don’t buy a single cold beer out of an ice cooler, take it to my vehicle and let it get warm before I get home. Just having the beer in the truck is a violation of the FMCSA that I think might be punishable by death by a firing squad. Exaggeration? Considering the way all this FMCSA mess is going I would not be surprised to see them give it a try.

  • safetygirl

    I see a real problem with having any public data base available to employers even if we do overlook rights violations. That kind of public data base does not remain private and there is no way to control access competently. Every carriers office personnel turnover eats away at privacy not to mention insecurities of the web. Just think about all of the x-wives of those drivers and x-wives girl freinds who will have access working in the office.

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