FMCSA Clearinghouse - Database Part 1

07 Dec 2016

>>>  Curious About the Proposed FMCSA Database >>> 

At long last, there has been some movement on the long awaited National Database for CDL Holders and motor carriers.  Some questions or concerns are: What is it; Will it affect a CDL holder; How will it affect a CDL holder; What will the impact be on the motor carrier industry?  These are some of the questions or concerns for motor carrier companies and CDL Holders.  Not to be left out are the numerous drivers holding a CDL license that drive transit buses under the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) regulations. Certainly DOT drug testing C/TPA's, TPA's and DOT drug testing providers are curious along with DOT regulated employers.

The new Final Rule is effective January 4, 2017 and is part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). This purpose of this Act is to improve roadway safety by identifying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers who have committed drug and alcohol violations that render them ineligible to operate a CMV.  The compliance date is January 6, 2020.

As a side note this Final Rule is 46 pages in the Federal Register.  That includes the Preamble and the actual Final Rule.

This Final Rule is applicable to several regulations applicable to the motor carrier industry.

The primary affected regulations are Part 382 (Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing); Added Subpart G (Sections 382.701 through 382.727) Requirements and Procedures for Implementation of the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

Other regulations that are affected are Part 383 Commercial Driver’s License Standards; Requirements and Penalties; Part 384 State Compliance with Commercial Driver’s License Program; and Part 391 Qualifications of Drivers and Longer Combination Vehicle (LCV) Driver Instructors.

The real changes that affect a motor carrier and companies are in 49 CFR Part 382 Subpart G and the Compliance Date.

What is the meaning and purpose of the Compliance Date?  The Compliance Date was not included in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) but FMCSA added this term at the request of several organization in their respective comments.

Apparently, FMCSA realized that this Final Rule will have a massive impact on the industry, service agent and upon on FMCSA.  FMCSA needs time to design plus time to test and implement the various computerized systems that would be needed to facilitate the reporting of results and violations of the drug and alcohol testing rules.  Not to be discounted are the responses to queries from employers and prospective employers.  FMCSA also recognized that service agents and the motor carrier industry along with the States needed time to prepare to implement this rule.

As the development of the various computer systems take, FMCSA states that they will keep stakeholders informed as the compliance date draws near.

Some of the various topics discussed and identified are:

  1. Driver consent to permit access to information in the Clearinghouse;
  2. Reporting to the Clearinghouse;
  3. Notice to drivers of entry, revision, removal, or release of information;
  4. Drivers’ access to information in the Clearinghouse;
  5. Clearinghouse registration;
  6. Duration, cancellation, and revocation of access;
  7. Authorization to enter information into the Clearinghouse;
  8. Procedures for correcting information in the database;
  9. Availability and removal of information;
  10. Fees;
  11. Unauthorized access or use prohibited;
  12. Access by State licensing authorities; and
  13. Penalties.

These areas of discussion and others related to the very important database will be discussed in future articles.


 

Robert C. Schoening

Bob is well renowned for his knowledge and influence in the drug-testing arena. As the Drug and Alcohol Program Manager for the US Coast Guard (December 2001-March 2013) he developed and managed a successful drug testing program for the marine industry nationwide and internationally.  During this time he developed and implemented a new compliance audit checklist as well as the writing and publishing a new Marine Employers Guidebook for Drug Testing.  He is also the author of the federal regulation commonly known as the two-hour alcohol testing for maritime incidents.