Statement on Release of Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Final Rule

In 2015, 4,067 people were killed in large truck crashes in the United States

Statement on Release of Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Final Rule




ARLINGTON, VA (December 2, 2016) – After years of unnecessary delays, we are pleased that Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today published a final rule to establish the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This rule will greatly enhance safety on our roads as employers will be able to access information regarding the testing history of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers applying for jobs and identify drivers who have previously violated alcohol and drug tests.

CMV drivers who have violated drug and alcohol testing currently pose a major threat to everyone on the road, but under the longtime system of self-reporting many employers were unable to access this information to avoid hiring problem drivers. The establishment of this new drug and alcohol clearinghouse that requires employers to check current and prospective employees will be a significant step forward for safety.

Truck Safety Coalition volunteers have first-hand experience with the deadly outcomes that result from truck drivers operating under the influence of drugs and alcohol.  Too often, a history of repeated drug and alcohol violations is not unearthed until a catastrophic crash occurs and a comprehensive investigation ensues.  This will no longer be the case as employers in the industry can now preemptively promote safety by identifying and not hiring dangerous drivers.


Truckers clash with regulators

Truck drivers are battling with the Obama administration over a long-delayed proposal related to drug and alcohol testing.

The Transportation Department is moving to establish a national database — also known as a clearinghouse — that would list truck drivers who have failed drug and alcohol tests. It would also list drivers who have refused to take them.

The administration and supporters of the proposal say the database would make it easier for employers to conduct background checks before they hire new drivers.

“Drivers who have previously violated drug and alcohol testing, and especially those who are repeat violators, pose a significant risk to the driving public,” the Truck Safety Coalition said in comments filed with the Transportation Department.

The department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sent the rule to the White House last month for final approval after a two-year delay.

Safety advocates, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, argue the database will help keep dangerous drivers off the road by closing a loophole that allows truck drivers who have been fired for substance abuse to continue operating commercial motor vehicles.

Trucking companies also support the rule, which could save them money by cutting back on crashes. Having a central database could also shield them from liability when accidents occur.

“Motor carriers support it, because they want to hire safe, qualified drivers, and they need full and complete histories of prospective drivers to do that,” said Rob Abbott, vice president of safety policy at the American Trucking Associations.

But truck drivers fear former employers could use the database to unfairly punish drivers.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which represents some 150,000 truck drivers, is concerned that trucking companies will use the threat of falsely
reported alcohol and drug tests to “punish or retaliate against drivers.”

“The report of a bad drug test can be the end of a driver’s employability,” the OOIDA told the Treasury Department.

The Transportation Department already requires truck drivers to report failed tests to their current and future employers, but safety advocates doubt that the “self-reporting” requirements are effective.

Without a national database to track the results, drivers who have been fired can find jobs with new employers. That could have “deadly consequences,” according to the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

“Unless a history of drug and alcohol violations are voluntarily supplied, the employers lack adequate information to avoid hiring these dangerous drivers,” according to the Truck Safety Coalition.

In addition, not every company that employs a driver is notified when a driver fails a drug or alcohol test. Working for multiple trucking companies is common in the industry.

“In the interest of safety, the clearinghouse should immediately notify all of a driver’s employers when the driver is to be removed from a safety sensitive position,” the American Trucking Associations wrote.

“If such a process is not provided, employers will be forced to rely on the honesty of their employees to inform them of their non-compliance,” it added. “Yet, there is little to compel an employee in such circumstances to do so.”

Trucking companies and safety advocates are pushing the administration to strengthen the rule so that the database includes drivers who avoided being tested by admitting to substance abuse problems.

The American Trucking Associations argues that truck drivers who either admitted to or were observed by their employers using drugs or alcohol should also be included in the database.

But the truck drivers group says trucking companies often use the tests unfairly.

“One scheme motor carriers use is to require a driver to take a drug test at a date and time that is impossible for the driver to meet — whether due to the distance the driver must travel to the drug testing facility or the simultaneous work demands of the carrier,” the OOIDA wrote. 

“Another scheme is to tag a driver with a refusal after the driver is terminated or resigns from the motor carrier,” it added.

Link to Article:


From the Truck Safety Coalition… Teacher Dies in Tragic North Carolina Crash

Last week, a dump truck towing a Bobcat bulldozer rear ended a minivan, causing it to collide into a tractor in front of it. Consequently, the minivan was destroyed and a 42 year-old high school English teacher was killed.

Unfortunately, this fatal crash could have prevented by commonsense proposals that TSC has been promoting for years. Adopting forward collision avoidance and mitigation (F-CAM) technology could have prevented this crash, or at least mitigated the severity of it. Establishing a drug clearinghouse database would have also possibly prevented the crash. The driver of the dump truck, who had a history of driving violations as well as two pending drug charges, should not have been behind the wheel of this truck.  


The Truck Safety Coalition Team


From the Truck Safety Coalition… FMCSA Shuts Down Wyoming Truck Company for Numerous Safety Violations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an out-of-service order to Bar D Bar Trucking. The agency ordered the motor carrier to cease operations after an investigators found violations including:

  • Failing to conduct pre-employment background checks on drivers
  • Failing to ensure drivers were qualified before dispatching them
  • Failing to properly monitor drivers to ensure compliance with hours-of-service requirements
  • Failing to conduct random drug and alcohol tests on drivers
  • Using a driver who tested positive for a controlled substance
  • Failing to ensure its vehicles were regularly inspected, maintained and repaired and that they met minimum safety standards

Additionally, the FMCSA also found that the company’s owner-operator was driving without a valid commercial driver’s license and is subject to a lifetime CDL disqualification.

TSC supports the regulation of legal Schedule II prescription drugs, in particular, those which list drowsiness and fatigue as side-effects. We also support monitoring or eliminating the use of any substance that impairs cognitive or motor ability for operators of commercial motor vehicles.


The Truck Safety Coalition Team

From the Truck Safety Coalition… Speed Limiter, CDL Clearinghouse Rules Delayed Again

The Department of Transportation recently announced that two long overdue truck safety rules have been further delayed. The rule to require speed limiters on heavy-duty trucks is projected to be published on April 22. The Final Rule for a CDL Clearinghouse, which will develop a database of truck drivers who have failed a drug or alcohol test, is projected to be published on July 28. TSC is disappointed with the delays and will continue monitoring the progress of these regulations.

Link to Article:

The Truck Safety Coalition Team



Pennsylvania Volunteers Visit with US Senators and Congressman

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, our Pennsylvania volunteers, Kim Telep (Harrisburg, PA) and Dorothy Wert (Montrose, PA), visited the Pennsylvania offices of Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey and Congressman Lou Barletta. Kim and Dorothy lost their husbands in truck crashes — both of which were preventable. At the meetings, the two women shared stories of their loss and spoke about critical truck safety issues, including the dangers of increasing truck size and weight limits, the importance of entry-level driver training requirements, the implementation of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, and related enforcement.

We are looking forward to continuing to work with these offices in our efforts to improve truck safety.

Kim and Dorothy after meeting with Senator Toomey's office.
Kim and Dorothy after meeting with Senator Toomey’s office.