FMCSA Rule Requires States To Identify And Suspend CDL Drivers With Outstanding Drug And Alcohol Violations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule last week that will make it easier for CDL drivers to be pulled out of service by state traffic enforcement officers and lose driving privileges.
The rule is important to energy marketers because it means employers must be diligent about regularly checking driver drug and alcohol violations and ensuring they complete their return to duty requirements before driving again.
Under FMCSA regulations, CDL drivers who violate federal drug and alcohol requirements are prohibited from driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) until the driver satisfies all return to duty requirements (counseling, testing, etc.).
The FMCSA requires employers to use the agency’s electronic online Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) to identify if a driver is prohibited from driving due to outstanding drug and alcohol violations before hiring and each year after employment begins.
SDLAs are only required to access and use the Clearinghouse to check for drug and alcohol violations when issuing or renewing CDL licenses. However, they are not required to do so any other time.
The new rule now requires SDLAs to check the Clearinghouse information to identify current CDL drivers with drug and alcohol violations who have not complied with FMCSA return to duty requirements but are still operating a CMV.
The new rule also requires SDLAs to remove CDL privileges from a driver’s license within 60 days of learning of an outstanding drug and alcohol violation.
This means that CDL drivers with outstanding violations (including refusal to test) who are stopped by state traffic enforcement officers or at roadside inspections, will now be identified and removed from service by a simple license check.
The FMCSA is allowing states to voluntarily comply with the new rule beginning November 8, 2021. However, all states must comply no later than November 18, 2024.