FMCSA Closes Clearinghouse Loophole
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is the system by which the federal government tracks commercial drivers’ use of mind-altering drugs, and, should their licenses be revoked, how far along in the steps the driver is in being able to return to service. However, there was a loophole that a sneaky driver could apply to switch jobs hassle-free, even if that driver recently obtained a DUI.
Loopholes and How to Close Them
The loophole is that it is possible for a driver when switching jobs to have a violation reported by another employer after a pre-employment query, but before the next annual query. This means that a driver applying for another job could get a DUI during his transition to another company without the new hiring fleet being any wiser regarding the violation.
Robin Hutcheson, administrator of the FMCSA, announced her vision to make it so that hiring fleets can be better informed of who they are hiring: when submitting a pre-employment query, the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will provide updates to the potential employer for up to twelve months afterwards. This way, the only chance a driver can stealthily be hired despite a violation is if it happened within the last year, but even that is not true as the annual report would have picked up the violation by that point.
The change to impose slightly stricter hiring regulations is a part of the FMCSA’s mission to have zero commercial vehicle crash deaths per year, a difficult goal to obtain considering the number currently stands at 5,000 each year, or almost fourteen people a day.
We know this is not the most exciting news, especially in the exhilarating world of transportation regulation, but driving an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer while under the influence of alcohol or drugs such as tetrahydrocannabinol will continue to be a serious issue until it stops entirely.
The change to the regulations regarding the Clearinghouse will go into effect at the start of next month, April 1st, but it will certainly not be a joke!
This information was all given by Hutcheson at the Truckload 2023 meeting on March 7th. While there, she also talked about commonly-proposed ideas such as speed limiters, hair testing, and truck parking.
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