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Better late than never.
That seems to be the general reaction of the commercial trucking industry to the recent announcement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of a proposed rule to better regulate problem drivers.
Industry voices have been pushing regulators for years to come up with a system that accurately identifies and deals with commercial truckers who are potential dangers on the roads in California and nationally owing to alcohol and drug use.
“No carrier wants to put an unsafe driver behind the wheel,” said American Trucking Associations chairman Phil Byrd recently in comments responding to the FMCSA’s plan to establish a national database for monitoring purposes.
That database — a one-stop clearinghouse in the planning stage — is highly endorsed by truck companies, who believe that the tool will help ensure transparency and contribute to a drop in truck accidents.
For obvious reasons, commercial truck crashes often bring horrific consequences, often resulting in wrongful death claims. Industry officials are logically concerned with truckers having drug and/or alcohol problems that are undiscovered until too late.
The clearinghouse, which doesn’t yet have a scheduled release date, is expected to be a tool of great utility for its ability to house easily accessed data on commercial truckers’ testing results. Company officials can see this information at the hiring stage, along with data that reveals any past refusals to test and compliance (or lack thereof) with any mandated substance-abuse program.
It is expected that the clearinghouse will greatly undercut the ability of unscrupulous truckers seeking to hide adverse information by failing to disclose it on employment applications.
Source: Fleet Owner, “UPDATED: FMCSA to issue long-sought rule on CDL drug/alcohol clearinghouse,” David Cullen, Feb. 13, 2014