Any problem with drug or alcohol use by drivers or violation of testing protocols among carriers large and small can ensure that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will be “watching you for a long time,” says independent regulatory consultant Richard Wilson in the podcast below.
It’s a revisit with a conversation I had with Wilson last year about federal safety interventions in the CSA program, and in the audio he urges those shopping for a testing corsortium to make every effort to ensure the consortium is equipped to its job. Namely, to random-test pools of drivers for alcohol at the rate of 10 percent in any given year and for drugs at 50 percent. And to be able to provide documentation they’ve done so. (Wilson can be found via the website for his TCRG Consulting.)
As I wrote then, had the test-results database been around, it’s likely said ringer could have been avoided. The database could well become a useful screen for small and large carriers alike, provided it’s not a garbage-in-garbage-out type of system. But some want to turn it into an employer-reporting well, whether or not positive test results exist. As reported here, ATA, TCA and CVSA among others asked for a supplemental proposed rulemaking to require carriers to “report all instances of actual knowledge of misuse, including direct observations of misuse and acknowledgements of misuse, to the proposed clearinghouse.”
Misuse of controlled substances, that is. OOIDA objects that the database should not be a repository of unverifiable he-said/she-said-type information. It would no doubt give rise to disputes that have long mired drivers similarly after contentious employer statements on drivers’ DAC Reports.
Read more about the issues via the stories linked above.
Stop by a scale, get some information! And should you be in need of some CSA-related information, you could read Overdrive from time to time, or you could stop into your friendly neighborhood scale house next week , says the FMCSA, to pick up materials to educate yourself and others on the CSA program. Yes, next week Tuesday-Thursday is the annual Roadcheck inspection blitz and outreach program taking place across the nation. I have it on fair authority that that information, if you show up in a big truck, will well likely come with a complimentary Level 1 as a cherry on top. If you’d rather forgo the extras, you can access the same material, part of the agency’s “Get Road Smart” initiative, here.
Todd Dills is Senior Editor of Overdrive magazine and writes from Nashville, Tenn. He frequently covers business, regulatory and lifestyle topics for the magazine and at OverdriveOnline.com. His work on the “CSA’s Data Trail” series in Overdrive about the federal CSA program was awarded the highest honor in trade journalism – the “Grand Neal” – by American Business Media at the 2014 Jesse H. Neal Awards. Dills’ Channel 19 blog covers a grab bag of on-highway hearsay, owner-operator news and driver views from the roadways the nation over. His work in trucking journalism builds on a background of news feature, fiction and other creative writing and editing. Find him here at the Channel 19 blog and via his Twitter feed, or send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 205-907-2481.