Dear Professional Driver,
You may, or may not, have heard that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a proposed rule to establish a drug and alcohol clearinghouse for all commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders. You may be asking yourself, “What does this mean to me?” Potentially, it can mean a lot.
Currently, the Federal Regulations mandate that employers conduct pre-employment screening of a CDL holder based upon their driving record. This screening includes sending a letter to previous employers, listed on the application, requesting information including but not limited to:
• Safety Performance
• Accident Frequency
• Alcohol & Substance abuse violations
• Refusals to be tested
• Failure to complete a rehabilitation program prescribed by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)
• Verified alcohol testing with a result of 0.04 or higher alcohol concentration
If the previous employer does not respond to this request, the prospective employer has only the applicant’s Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) and Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) to make a hiring decision. There has not been a single federal repository (clearinghouse), recording this vital information for employers to use in determining if prospective applicants can perform safety-sensitive duties.
Under this proposed ruling, a clearinghouse will be created where those truck and bus companies regulated by the FMCSA, Medical Review Officers (MRO’s), Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP’s), private and third party USDOT drug and alcohol testing laboratories would be required to record information when a driver:
➢ Fails a drug and/or alcohol test
➢ Refuses to submit to a drug and/or alcohol test; and
➢ Successfully completes a substance abuse program and is legally qualified to return to duty
This repository or clearinghouse will require employers to conduct pre-employment searches for all prospective CDL applicants as well as annual searches on current drivers. To ensure the privacy of drivers, each CDL holder would need to provide their consent before a prospective and current employer could access this clearinghouse. CDL holders who refuse to provide their consent could still be employed however, could not occupy safety-sensitive positions, such as driving commercial motor vehicles.
This proposed ruling was directed by the U.S. Congress in the most recent transportation bill, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP21).