FMCSA lays out proposed drug and alcohol clearinghouse

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration unveiled a plan for a drug and alcohol clearinghouse that would store positive drug and alcohol test results, test refusals, and successful completions of the return to duty process following positive tests.

In the proposal, motor carriers would be required to check a driver’s records in the clearinghouse before hiring the driver. The driver would have to give written consent for this search. Drivers who do not provide consent to employers for searches of the clearinghouse will not be allowed to conduct safety-sensitive functions. Essentially this means that they will not be allowed to drive trucks unless they agree to the search.

All Texas drivers are prohibited from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle when they are legally intoxicated. For most of us, the State of Texas has determined that the “legal limit” when it comes to blood alcohol level (BAC) is .08.

However, drivers who operate a vehicle for a living, such as truck drivers, taxi drivers, etc., are only allowed a BAC of up to .04 while they are working. This stricter standard is in place for several reasons. First, lawmakers want us to be able to trust that the “professional” drivers out there are not intoxicated; whether we are riding in the back of a taxi or next to a semi truck on the highway. Second, in many cases, these drivers are on the road for more hours than the average driver and sometimes operate large, extremely dangerous vehicles. I am pleased to know that employers will soon be required to check the full DWI history of their drivers before blindling trusting their huge vehicles to drivers.

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