audits to Get Tougher
In a new rule
taking effect February 17, 2009, the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has raised the
bar on its "new entrant" safety audits, which all
new carriers must pass within the first 18 months of
Among the changes, the FMCSA has
identified 16 violations that will result in
automatic failure of the audit and - if corrective
action is not taken within 45 - 60 days - revocation
of the carriers registration will take place.
Drug and Alcohol
DOT issues Final Rule allowing Employers and
Third Party Administrators to release drug &
alcohol violation results to State Commercial
Driver Licensing (CDL) authorities that require
Effective February 25, 2010 DOT has authorized
Employers to release the results of CDL driver
drug and alcohol violations to State commercial
driver licensing (CDL) authorities that require
Consortia/Third Party Administrators (C/TPAs)
are also authorized to release violation results
to those authorities for owner-operators who
hold CDLs who are served by the C/TPA.
In both instances, the release of such results
will not be considered a violation of Part
40.321 because authority to release results to
authorized state authorities is granted under
This rule can be found at
"direct observation" procedures for
return-to-duty & follow-up drug tests now in
Effective August 31, 2009 DOT made direct
observation mandatory for all return-to-duty
& follow-up drug
tests. The procedure, originally scheduled
to begin on August 25, 2008, was issued
a temporary stay following a legal
challenge of the rule. The U. S. Court of Appeal for the D. C.
Circuit cleared the way for approval.
The new rule reads:
40.67 When and how is a directly
observed collection conducted?
(b) As an employer you must direct a
collection under direct observation of the
employee if the drug test is a return-to-duty or
a follow-up test.
Under direct observation procedures, the
collector or observer will request the employee
to raise his or her shirt, blouse, or
dress/skirt, as appropriate, above the waist
& and lower clothing
and underpants. The employee must then
turn around to show that s/he does not have a
prosthetic device that is to be used to
substitute a urine specimen [40.67(i)].
Failure by the employee to do so will be
considered a refusal to test.
Congress to seek a national database of
positive drug and alcohol tests under proposed
"Safe Roads Act".
The "Safe Roads Act" currently before Congress
would establish a national, centralized database
for commercial vehicle operators who have tested
positive for either drugs and/or alcohol.
Under the proposed Act medical review officers (MROs),
employers and other service agents would be
required to report positive results to the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(FMCSA) and would also require employers to
check the database before hiring a prospective
Currently drivers are sometimes able to omit
information regarding a positive test and not
complete the required evaluation and treatment
program required. If a prospective
employer is not diligent with background checks
the violation can be overlooked.
Other requirements under the Safe Roads Act
would be to prohibit an employer from hiring a
driver unless the employer determines that
within the last 3 years that the driver:
Has been tested for alcohol and drugs under a
Hasn't test positive, or if s/he has tested
positive, has completed the required evaluation,
education and/or treatment under FMCSA rules.
Hasn't refused to take a required test.
Also under the Act,
once a driver's record is submitted to the
database DOT will notify the driver, who will be
able to either obtain information, update their
information or dispute their record.
CDL licenses could also be affected by the Act
in that DOT would be authorized to share the
database with state licensing agencies which
could result in the disqualification or
suspension of their driving privileges.
Watch this site for future updates.