Bill would close drug/alcohol testing loophole

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Updated Apr 9, 2011

The American Trucking Associations on Friday, April 8, applauded the U.S. Senate introduction of the Safe Roads Act, which would close a loophole that allows truck drivers who have tested positive for drugs or alcohol to deceive carriers and continue driving.

“For over 15 years, commercial drivers have been required to submit to drug and alcohol testing to ensure they aren’t impaired while on the highway,” says Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “However, a loophole in the system allows drivers who test positive to evade the consequences of their actions by failing to disclose their complete work histories and positive test results to prospective employers. This important legislation will close that loophole and will improve the safety of our highways.”

ATA says the Government Accountability Office and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration both have found that a centralized clearinghouse for drug and alcohol test results is preferable to the current system that relies both on drivers to self-report their failed tests and on previous employers to provide test results to future employers. Currently, these prospective employers only learn of test results when drivers disclose the names of past employers for whom they tested positive.

ATA Chairman Barbara Windsor says Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.), who introduced the bill, “should be commended for taking this step to improve highway safety.” ATA first began seeking this safety solution in 1999 and subsequently made creation of a clearinghouse a component of its progressive safety agenda.

“We’d also like to thank Senators Olympia Snowe, Roger Wicker and David Vitter for co-sponsoring this important bill and urge their colleagues to join them enacting this legislation,” says Windsor, president and CEO of Hahn Transportation of New Market, Md.