The recent announcement that the DOT is proposing new requirements for drug and alcohol testing to be disclosed of commercial truck drivers is a great step forward for highway safety.
Under the new rule, a clearinghouse would be established that includes all commercial drivers license holders, making it much easier for motor carriers to learn whether the driver has violated drug or alcohol regulations or refuse mandatory testing.
Transparency outlined in the proposal is a benefit to not only the individual trucking companies but also will serve to help insure the drivers on the road have not violated the drug and alcohol rules in the past.
Current law requires Motor Carriers to investigate and screen commercial truck drivers before they are hired, to ensure the driver is qualified to drive. The new rules would make the pre-employment screening easier and more through for the trucking company and would include easy access to results of drug and alcohol testing of a potential driver if they were positive.
By creating a central database of positive drug or alcohol tests, the practice of truckers moving to other states to obtain new employment after losing a job will be much harder for those who have drug or alcohol violations.
Under the proposed rule, trucking companies, third-party drug and alcohol testing labs and medical review officers would be required to report failed drug or alcohol tests or instances when a commercial driver refuses a drug or alcohol test.
After a serious semi-truck or commercial vehicle accident, truckers are routinely asked to provide a blood test to ensure that they were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash.
Motor carriers must also conduct random drug and alcohol testing to help ensure that the drivers on the road are not under the influence of such substances.
The trucking regulations are designed to balance the interest of the trucking industry with that of Highway safety. Trucking is vital to America’s future and is one of the growth industries for the next decade.
We applaud the new proposed rules, as the repository will make the hiring practice more transparent for the benefit of the motor carrier and also for community safety.