Carrier groups want expansion of drug database rule, petition FMCSA

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Updated May 15, 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.

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.

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.

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“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 and use the docket number FMCSA-2011-0031. The comment period ends May 21.

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