TNI || New Delhi || 09th Oct 2021
There is a new rule designed to keeping commercial drivers off the roads if they fail the required drug and alcohol test.
This is done, understandably, to win trucking safety to a significant extent, however, there is still a steep road ahead.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s final rule, which has been published in the federal register on October 7, establishes requirements from the licensing agencies of the state drivers to use the information given out by the Federal Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to either deny or downgrade commercial drivers licenses in case of any violation which itself will mean that they will be prohibited from driving commercially.
According to the Managing Director of The Trucking Alliance, Lane Kidd, everyone agrees that drug-impaired truck drivers must be kept out of trucks until they go through thorough rehabilitation. The final rule adds value to improving highway safety.
With this, a state will have to query the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse before renewing a commercial driver’s license, and most importantly the FMCA (The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) will notify the state whenever a driver fails a drug test. P. Sean Garney, co-director of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting is of an opinion that though this is an important rule for trucking, it has challenges as well.
According to him, because it will take 60 days for a state to process a downgrade, it is possible that the driver will complete the return to duty process but will have to wait on the state licensing agency to allow the driver to drive again. This may lead to fewer drivers returning to the industry.
Another hurdle, according to Garney, is whether the state agency will be able to build a technology system for this. He adds that although the state’s track record isn’t great, they are given three years to ensure technology, as well as the systems, are in place.