Movie industry drivers get clearinghouse reprieve

by Abdul Latheef

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. regulators have granted the company that provides truck drivers to the movie industry an exemption from pre-employment full query as required under the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse program.

Movie Production
The FMCSA says MPCS has its own unique safety protocols in place. Photo: iStock.

Under rules that went into effect in January, employers won’t be able to hire a driver who has been flagged by the clearinghouse before conducting a full query.

Motion Picture Compliance Solutions (MPCS), whose members employ drivers working in the movie industry, had argued that a full query would slow down the hiring process and, therefore, it should be allowed to conduct a limited query.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) agreed, and said in a notice published Monday in the Federal Register that MPCS may conduct a limited query before one of its member employers hires a driver for a project.

“MPCS’ process for identifying qualified drivers for its member employers is uniquely designed to accommodate safety concerns related to drug and alcohol testing violations.”

– Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The exemption, valid until 2025, was granted despite opposition from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and others.

The OOIDA had warned that the exemption would diminish the intended safety benefits of the program.

But the FMCSA said MPCS has its own unique safety protocols in place.

“In the agency’s judgment, MPCS’ process for identifying qualified drivers for its member employers is uniquely designed to accommodate safety concerns related to drug and alcohol testing violations,” it said.

The FMCSA concluded that it is appropriate to provide limited relief to MPCS from the pre-employment full query requirement.

“The agency has determined that the exemption is likely to achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained in the absence of the exemption,” it said.

The motion picture industry employs a pool of 12,000 production drivers.

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