Final rule on FMCSA drug and alcohol clearinghouse will be out before end of October

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP

A national database of truck drivers who have failed drug or alcohol tests, or refused to take them, will soon be a reality.

That’s according to Juan Moya, Program Manager for the Drug and Alcohol Program of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, who spoke this week at a conference of the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association. Mr. Moya said that the final rule establishing a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse would be released before the end of October.

The proposed rule, originally published in February 2014, would require motor carriers and other medical personnel to “report verified positive, adulterated and substituted drug test results, positive alcohol test results, test refusals, negative return-to-duty test results and information on follow-up testing.” A final rule was sent to the Office of Management and Budget in May 2016. That is the last regulatory hurdle before issuance of the rule. The DOT also recently updated its definition of “service agent” under 49 CFR Part 40.3 in preparation for the final release.

Here’s what the FMCSA said about the proposed clearinghouse rule in 2014:

Current federal regulations require employers to conduct mandatory pre-employment screening of a CDL driver’s qualifications based upon his or her driving record. However, there has not been a single federal repository recording positive drug and alcohol tests by CDL holders that employers would be able to search to ensure that the driver is able to perform safety-sensitive duties.

The proposed rule announced today would create such a repository and require employers to conduct pre-employment searches for all new CDL drivers and annual searches on current drivers.

After the final rule is issued, motor carriers will need to update their FMCSA policies and forms toolkits, adopt various internal reporting and confidentiality protocols, conduct training, and update their Service Agent contracts. The rule is expected to be the most significant regulatory change since 2001, when the Part 40 Regulations were adopted.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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