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Beginning in January 2020, trucking companies and carriers must begin checking a national database to find out if potential drivers have a history of drug or alcohol use on the job. The rule was established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2016 and mandatory reporting begins on January 6, 2020.

Up until now, many truck drivers have been able to conceal a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Because of the lack of a system where potential employers could have access to an applicant’s drug and alcohol use on the job, drivers could hop from company to company without reporting infractions or firings.

With the implementation of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, the FMCSA aims to reduce the number of dangerous drivers on our highways, with the goal of also reducing the number of truck accidents. Trucking companies must register for authorization to access the database and check it for every potential driver. The database collects all instances of when a driver:

  • Tests positive on a drug or alcohol test
  • Refuses to take a drug or alcohol test
  • Was otherwise driving impaired

Drugs tested for include marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and methamphetamines. A commercial truck driver fails an alcohol test if the alcohol concentration is 0.04 or greater. In a recent webinar, transportation consultant Dave Osiecki explained more. “Only the FMCSA and employers will be able to use the system; however, employers can designate a service agent to use it on their behalf. They will input into the system information about when a driver has a drug or alcohol violation and can access this information from the system. Law enforcement can only see information on whether a driver is eligible to drive. Also, drivers can access their own information.”

Additionally, Forbes reports that the FMCSA estimates these new rules will eliminate nearly 900 truck crashes, with a net benefit to society of $196 million.

Safety advocates both outside and within the trucking industry have been working for this type of rule for a long time. By providing trucking companies access to a mandatory database, they can make safer and higher quality hiring decisions. As the trucking industry continues to flourish, thanks to online ordering and overnight shipping, companies need more and more drivers. We’re hopeful the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse helps reduce the number of negligent and careless semi-truck and 18-wheeler drivers out on our highways and roads.

If you were injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, talk to Wagner & Wagner, Attorneys at Law. Often, accidents with semi-trucks cause significant damage and injuries. We’ll fight for the compensation you deserve. We serve clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, in North Georgia, and all surrounding counties. Call us today at 423-756-7923 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.

 

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