WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will soon require state driver’s licensing agencies (SDLAs) to check an applicant’s drug and alcohol use history.
According to the Federal Register, beginning Nov. 8, state agencies must run names through an FMCSA-administered database containing “driver-specific controlled substance and alcohol records” before issuing new commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), renewing licenses, upgrading licenses or transferring commercial licenses or permits.
If violations are found, the applicant’s request for a license will be denied until they comply with return-to-duty requirements.
The FMCSA has also mandated that current license holders be reviewed through the database, and if violations are found, their commercial learner’s permit (CLP) or CDL privileges will be downgraded until they comply with return-to-duty requirements.
The FMCSA said that the rule “will help keep unsafe drivers off the road while increasing compliance with the commercial motor vehicle driving prohibition.”
There are two ways the SDLAs will receive notification of the driver’s prohibited status, according to the Federal Register.
The SDLA “pulls” the information from the clearinghouse by conducting a required query prior to a specified commercial licensing transaction or the FMCSA “pushes” the information to the SDLA whenever a drug or alcohol program violation is reported to the clearinghouse for a CLP or CDL holder licensed in that state.
The FMCSA will also “push” a notification to the SDLA when the driver complies with return to duty requirements and is no longer prohibited by FMCSA’s regulations from operating a commercial motor vehicle.
In addition, if the FMCSA determines that a driver was erroneously identified as prohibited, the agency will notify the SDLA that the individual is not prohibited from operating a CMV; the SDLA must promptly reinstate the commercial driving privilege to the driver’s license and expunge the driving record accordingly.
Click here to view the complete ruling from the Federal Register.