This morning the FMCSA announced the establishment of a nationwide searchable database that will hold records of drug and alcohol violations discovered by the agency’s testing program amongst CDL holders.
Carriers Will Be Required To Search Employee Records In Database
FMCSA says that the system is designed to target drivers who hide their substance abuse violations by moving or changing jobs: “Drug and alcohol violation records maintained in the Clearinghouse will “follow” the driver regardless of how many times he or she changes employers, seeks employment or applies for a CDL in a different State.”
After the database is implemented, employers will be required to use the system to learn about unresolved drug or alcohol violations among both current and prospective employees. The new ruling will require an annual search of the database for current employees and a pre-employment search for new hires.
The FMCSA will also require motor carriers, substance abuse professionals, and medical examiners to report any drug or alcohol incidents to the database. These incidents include a refusal to take a drug and alcohol test, a positive result for a drug or alcohol test, and the process of undergoing the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process.
Employers Must Ask For CDL Holder’s Permission To Access Database Records
Because of the Privacy Act of 1974, employers must obtain permission from drivers before they can access that driver’s database records. A CDL holder will be able to access his or her own database records free of charge after registering with the system.
The FMCSA’s Scott Darling says the new database will increase highway safety by allowing employers to more easily access information about a driver’s drug and alcohol history: “The clearinghouse will allow carriers across the country to identify current and prospective drivers who have tested positive for drugs or alcohol, and employ those who drive drug- and alcohol-free. Drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol will no longer be able to conceal those test results from employers and continue to drive while posing a safety risk to the driving public.”
Read more about the Final Ruling in the document below.