ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is a step closer to realizing its goal of developing a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse, which would provide access to commercial drivers’ past positive drug and alcohol test results as well as refusals to take the tests.
The clearinghouse database could come in the form of the Safe Roads Act, S.1113 – a bill introduced this week by Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. It’s a bi-partisan bill, notes the ATA, which has been lobbying for such a database for 10 years now.
“ATA is very pleased that Sen. Pryor, along with Sens. Snowe, Nelson, and Wicker, has taken this bold step to close a longstanding loophole in the drug and alcohol testing program,” said Dave Osiecki, ATA vice-president of safety, security and operations. “ATA will work to secure its passage because this bill will result in safer roads and a safer trucking industry.”
The ATA has complained that when a driver moves from one trucking company to another, the new employer doesn’t always find out about previous positive tests, since there is no central tracking system.
“A national drug and alcohol clearinghouse will allow companies to more easily obtain this critical safety-related information during the hiring of commercial drivers,” said Osiecki.
As proposed, the Safe Roads Act would allocate US$5 million per year towards building and maintaining the database. Medical review officers, employers and other agencies would be required to report positive test results to the FMCSA. Employers would also have to check the database before hiring new drivers.
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