The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has launched a web page that provides information about the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a database to be launched in early January 2020.
The database’s purpose is to track and identify “drivers who are not legally permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) due to drug and alcohol program violations,” the FMCSA said.
In 2012, Congress directed the secretary of transportation to establish a national clearinghouse containing commercial motor vehicle operators’ violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program in Section 32402 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). This rule implements that mandate and responds to recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board.
FMCSA says on the website that registration with the database will open in the fall and all operators who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial driver’s permit (CLP) must comply with the requirement in order to continue working in a safety-sensitive role.
More information, including frequently asked questions, is available at the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse website.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced a proposed rule to establish a drug and alcohol clearinghouse for all national commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders. The clearinghouse would help improve roadway safety by making it easier to determine whether a truck or bus driver is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle for failing to comply with federal drug and alcohol regulations, including mandatory testing.

“Safety is our highest priority, and we will continue to embrace new tools and opportunities that protect the travelers on our nation’s roads,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Today’s proposal will help ensure dangerous drivers stay off the road, while encouraging the employment of the many safe drivers who follow our drug and alcohol requirements.”

Current federal regulations require employers to conduct mandatory pre-employment screening of a CDL driver’s qualifications based upon his or her driving record. However, there has not been a single federal repository recording positive drug and alcohol tests by CDL holders that employers would be able to search to ensure that the driver is able to perform safety-sensitive duties.

The proposed rule announced today would create such a repository and require employers to conduct pre-employment searches for all new CDL drivers and annual searches on current drivers.

“We are leveraging technology to create a one-stop verification point to help companies hire drug and alcohol-free drivers,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “This proposal moves us further down the road toward improving safety for truck and bus companies, commercial drivers and the motoring public everywhere.”

Under the proposed rule announced today, FMCSA-regulated truck and bus companies, Medical Review Officers, Substance Abuse Professionals, and private, third party USDOT drug and alcohol testing laboratories would be required to record information about a driver who:

  • Fails a drug and/or alcohol test;
  • Refuses to submit to a drug and/or alcohol test; and
  • Successfully completes a substance abuse program and is legally qualified to return to duty.

Private, third-party USDOT drug and alcohol testing laboratories also would be required to report summary information annually. This information would be used to help identify companies that do not have a testing program.

To ensure the privacy of drivers involved, each CDL holder would need to provide his or her consent, before an employer could access the clearinghouse.

Drivers who refuse to provide this information could still be employed by the truck or bus company; however, they could not occupy safety-sensitive positions, such as operating a commercial motor vehicle.

It is a violation of federal regulations to drive a truck or bus under the influence of controlled substances or alcohol. Federal safety regulations require that truck and bus companies that employ CDL drivers conduct random drug and alcohol testing programs. Carriers must randomly test 10 percent of their CDL drivers for alcohol and 50 percent of their CDL drivers for drugs each year.

For each of the past three years, federal and state safety inspectors have conducted approximately 3.5 million random roadside inspections of commercial vehicles and of their drivers.

In 2013, on 2,095 occasions, or in 0.23 percent of the unannounced inspections, a CDL holder was immediately placed out-of-service and cited for violating federal regulations governing alcohol consumption. In 2012, FMCSA records show that there were 2,494 violations of this regulation.

In 2013, on 1,240 occasions, or in 0.13 percent of the unannounced inspections, a CDL holder was placed immediately out-of-service and cited for violating federal regulations governing controlled substances. In 2012, FMCSA records show that there were 1,139 violations of this regulation.

In addition to random testing, truck and bus companies are further required to perform drug and alcohol testing on new hires, drivers involved in significant crashes, and whenever a supervisor suspects a driver of using drugs or alcohol while at work.

The proposed rule announced today was directed by Congress in the most recent transportation bill, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.

For a copy of the Federal Register announcement, click here.


The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) Jan. 10 announced that it is extending by one year, until Jan. 30, 2015, a requirement that interstate commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders retain paper copies of their medical examiner’s certificate and continue to make the document available for review upon request at the roadside by federal and state commercial motor vehicle inspectors.

In December 2008, FMCSA issued a Final Rule modernizing, streamlining, and simplifying recordkeeping obligations for drivers, carriers and state governments by requiring that a driver’s medical certification record be merged with state-issued CDLs.

States received support from FMCSA to implement the necessary IT system upgrades and merge the records into one, online database – the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS).

FMCSA announced the one-year extension today to protect commercial drivers from being cited for violations because some states are not yet in full compliance with the new system. For a copy of the Federal Register announcement, see:

cdl-drivers-manual_webThe federal government is relaxing a rule for drivers of buses and large trucks who are involved in out-of-state traffic violations. ??

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an office of the Department of Transportation, is eliminating a requirement that drivers notify their state’s licensing agency when they are convicted of a traffic offense in another state. ??

In its final rule published in the Federal Register April 26, FMCSA amends its commercial driver’s license (CDL) rules to eliminate the requirement for drivers to notify the state licensing agency that issued their commercial learner’s permit (CLP) or CDL of out-of-state traffic convictions when those convictions occur in states that have a certified CDL program in substantial compliance with FMCSA’s rules.

Current regulations require both CDL holders and states with certified CDL programs to report a CDL holder’s out-of-state traffic conviction to the driver’s state of licensure.

This final rule amends the CDL rules to eliminate this reporting redundancy for those cases in which the conviction occurs in a state that has a certified CDL program in substantial compliance with FMCSA’s regulations. This change will reduce a regulatory burden on individual CLP and CDL holders and state driver licensing agencies.

“The anticipated benefits of the rule will take the form of reduced paperwork burden hours and expenditures for the reporting of out-of-state traffic convictions,” the agency said in the new rule.

Under the rule, which will take effect in 30 days, states will continue sending reports to each other, but no action will be required from drivers.

“This is a favorable change to this rule, however, it does not eliminate a commercial driver, especially a bus driver, from following a carrier’s policy of reporting traffic or moving violations to the company once convicted, or based on the individual company policy,” said SMART Transportation Bus Vice President Bonnie Morr. “Drivers still need to report a violation based on their employer’s policy.”

The change comes as result of an Obama administration initiative to reduce regulatory burdens. ??

In 2011, the Transportation Department asked the public for suggestions on possible ways to cut back on unnecessary rules.

The SMART Transportation Division’s Legislative Office in offered suggestions to the FMCSA in February 2011.

The federal government has set minimum national standards for drivers of commercial vehicles since the 1986 enactment of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act, but each state has its own procedures and rules for the licenses. ??

In order to receive highway and grant funding, states must meet the benchmarks of the commercial driver’s license program, which includes a requirement that states report commercial drivers’ out-of-state traffic convictions to their home state within 10 days. Drivers were required to report the convictions within 30 days.

WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published a final rule — effective for drivers in 60 days — amending the commercial driver’s license (CDL) knowledge and skills testing standards, and establishing new minimum federal standards for states to issue the commercial learner’s permit (CLP).

The final rule requires that a CLP holder meet virtually the same requirements as those for a CDL holder, meaning that a driver holding a CLP will be subject to the same driver disqualification penalties that apply to a CDL holder.

The final rule requires:

  • Successful completion of the knowledge test — currently a prerequisite for the CDL — prior to issuance of a CLP.
  • States to use FMCSA pre-approved driver and examiner reference materials, state testing questions and exercises, and state testing methodologies.
  • A prohibition on the use of foreign language interpreters in the administration of the knowledge and skills tests to reduce the potential for fraud.
  • Each driver applicant obtain a CLP and hold it for a minimum of 14 days before applying for a CDL.
  • A minimum age of 18 for issuance of a CLP.
  • The CLP be a separate document from the CDL, and that it be tamperproof and include the same information as the CDL.
  • Bus operator CLP endorsements be limited to a restricted passenger endorsement and/or a school bus endorsement. Also, states must use standardized endorsement and restriction codes on CDLs.
  • That states, prior to issuing a CLP, perform a check of the driver’s previous driving record to ensure the driver is not subject to the sanctions based on previous motor vehicle violations. If the state discovers the driver is subject to such sanctions, it must refuse to issue a CLP to the driver.
  • States verify the applicant’s Social Security number with the Social Security Administration.
  • Limited initial and renewal periods for CLPs and CDLs.
  • Motor carriers to prohibit using a driver who does not hold a current and appropriate CLP or CDL.

Click here to read the final rule published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

By Vic Baffoni

Bus Vice President

UTU-represented bus operators and mechanics can take great pride in their accomplishments the first half of 2008, but there remain many hurdles to overcome.

The final DOT rule on drug and alcohol testing for holders of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) goes into effect Aug. 25. DOT ordered that all specimens be tested for validity, which means adulterants and urine substitutes. Also, observed collections will now be required, rather than be an option, for all return-to-duty and follow-up testing.

Holders of CDLs and commercial learner permits (CLPs) face many tougher rules, and the UTU will be there every step of the way to protect the rights of its bus members.

We still have numerous contracts to negotiate before the end of the year, and there also are many pending arbitration cases. This office has an open-door policy: Any UTU officer is encouraged to call my office for assistance anytime.

Thanks go out to Alternate Vice President-East Rich Deiser for his excellent handling of the TNM&O merger and acquisition by Greyhound. Brother Deiser negotiated rights for our former members, which included dovetailed seniority, benefit protections and additional work assignments, ensuring important protections as part of their movement into the Amalgamated Transit Union.

It is good news to see reports of sharp increases in bus ridership across America as soaring gasoline prices force a shift from automobiles to public transportation. The bad news is that transit agencies are saying they cannot dramatically increase bus service anytime soon because of rising fuel costs. The UTU is urging all levels of government to increase spending on public transportation.

By Vic Baffoni,
Vice President, Bus

Congratulations to officers and members of Local 1589, New Brunswick, N.J., on a new contract that includes improved wages and benefits.

The UTU International is working with members of Local 1697, employed by TNM&O Coaches in Texas, following the carrier’s sale to Greyhound. We intend to protect their assignments and seniority.

We are monitoring proposed revisions by the FMCSA of CDL testing standards, and new minimum standards for commercial learner’s permits (CLPs).

The revisions would require successful completion of the knowledge test before issuance of a CLP, and prohibit use of foreign language interpreters.

Applicants would be required to hold a CLP at least 30 days before applying for a CDL, and an issuing state would be required to check the applicant’s driving record, plus verify Social Security numbers and proof of legal U.S. residency.

Drivers applying for a new or upgraded CDL would be required to successfully complete minimum classroom and behind-the-wheel training from an accredited program.

States would be required to recognize CLPs issued by other states, and use standardized endorsement and restriction codes on CDLs.

Drivers would not be permitted to operate a commercial motor vehicle without holding a current CLP or CDL, or to operate a vehicle in violation of the restrictions on the CLP or CDL.

The proposed revisions have been provided to state legislative directors, who will be in contact with bus property general chairpersons.