Trucking groups voiced both a list of concerns and requested changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule prior to the May 21 end date of the public comment period on the rule, and some key stakeholders seem divided over the direction the agency should take before finalizing and implementing the rule.
Most industry trade groups, however, offered support of the rule and its intentions.
As noted in prior CCJ reporting, fleet-interest groups like the American Trucking Associations, the Truckload Carrier Association and the Truck Safety Coalition are pushing for a provision to require carriers to upload what they’re calling “actual knowledge” of misuse of drugs or alcohol by drivers, obtained either from first-hand accounts or from employee admission of misuse.
ATA says including the requirement would strengthen the rule and its core purpose: Keeping drivers who misuse drugs and alcohol out from behind the wheel of a truck. “The clearinghouse must be a ‘one-stop shop” for all drug and alcohol violations and test results,” ATA writes. “By not requiring all instances of actual knowledge to be captured by the clearinghouse, FMCSA is perpetuating the current loophole that the clearinghouse is expected to close.”
ATA also included a list of about a dozen other suggestions for the rule, though mostly small changes. Click here to see ATA’s entire 10-page comment.
Joint comments from the Truck Safety Coalition, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and Parents Against Tired Truckers also push for reporting of “actual knowledge” and observational reports form carriers to be required. The groups also suggest that FMCSA require employers to report information obtained from drivers’ previous employers and to extend the amount of time records stay in the clearinghouse to five years from the proposed three.
The groups also say they want an expansion of the driver consent stipulations. “TSC, CRASH and PATT support a consent that authorizes employers to annually search drug and alcohol testing records for the duration of a driver’s employment, in place of the current system which requires employers to obtain written consent each year.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, however, opposes the “actual knowledge” reporting suggestions, saying they’re ”unverified allegations” that “have no place in the clearinghouse database.”
Click the links below to see the full comments from groups listed: