Come November 8th, getting a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) will be ever so slightly cumbersome.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will require state driver’s licensing agencies to check the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse before issuing, renewing, or upgrading a trucker’s CDL.
Few would argue against keeping drunk or otherwise intoxicated drivers off the road. As such, the FMCSA has created a database to track commercial drivers who have outstanding violations, whether it be a positive drug test or refusal to take a drug test when an officer has reasonable suspicion of foul play.
There are two maneuvers that will start happening come November 8th:
- When a driver has a change to his CDL status (new, renewal, etc.), the state driver’s licensing agency must query the Clearinghouse. The Final Rule does not say outright if the query must be full (detailed with date, location, and drug) or limited (yes or no violations).
- The Clearinghouse will submit new information to the relevant state driver’s licensing agency when it arises (new outstanding violation or removal of outstanding status for a current violation, either done by error or the driver complies with return-to-duty requirements).
If you are a responsible truck driver, this change may add two more minutes of work to your end regarding consent of being queried. These new regulations also help keep irresponsible truckers off the road, with ample room for forgiveness. Any problem that could arise from the Final Rule would be from people stuck in the middle, those who did not drive under any influence but refused to take a test due to privacy reasons. These are Fourth and Fifth Amendment issues that may one day be resolved when a trucker with standing takes up the case.
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