For the second consecutive year, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) has sponsored bills to mandate electronic on-board recorders on trucks and prevent CDL holders from continuing to drive trucks or buses after failing alcohol or drug tests.
Pryor introduced the Commercial Driver Compliance Improvement Act, or S. 695, on March 31, which was referred to the transportation committee with one co-sponsor. It would require EOBR on trucks, which the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes, but the American Trucking Associations and the Truckload Carriers Association supports.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended the comment deadline until May 23 on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking mandating the devices. A year ago, the FMCSA issued a final rule requiring carriers with a history of serious log violations to install EOBRs, effective June 2012.
FMCSA has stated law requires the agency to ensure the devices are not used to harass truckers.
OOIDA challenged the 2010 EOBR final rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The association expressed concern over the potential for fleets to use EOBR to harass drivers during oral arguments Feb. 7. The court is reviewing the 2010 EOBR rule, which the agency maintains properly protects drivers from harassment.
The Safe Roads Act, introduced April 7, would mitigate the number of CDL holders who should not be driving trucks or buses because of alcohol or drug violations.
Included are commercial motor vehicle drivers who test positive, but continue to drive without reporting their drug test history to new employers, working for carriers that do not conduct full background checks or by being self-employed and not removing themselves from service.
The legislation would implement a Government Accountability Office recommendation to establish a cost-effective, feasible database of drug testing information for commercial drivers, which Arkansas already has done on a state level.
If passed, S.754 would require medical review officers, employers and service agents to report positive results from drug or alcohol tests to the FMCSA. Employers would be required to check the database before hiring. The bill would also provide privacy protections and employee rights of action.
The bill, which the ATA supports and OOIDA is against, was referred to committee with four co-sponsors
The FMCSA expects to issue a notice of proposed rule by Dec. 1 to establish a clearinghouse of those who fail alcohol or drug tests and drivers who refuse testing. Service agents and those who employ CDL holders would be required to report positive test results and refusals to the database.