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FMCSA Publishes Final Ruling on Drug Testing Database

DOT Drug Test Ruling

The final clearinghouse rule that will establish a DOT database of drivers who have failed or refused a drug test has just been published by the FMCSA in the Federal Register. The ruling goes into effect on January 4, 2017, with a compliance date of January 2020. 

What CDL Drivers Need to Know

Drug Screen Tests

The final rule requires motor carriers, medical review officers, third-party administrators, and substance abuse professionals to report information about drivers who: 

  • Test positive for drugs or alcohol
  • Refuse drug and alcohol testing
  • Undergo the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process 

Additionally, employers will be required to consult this database when hiring new drivers, upload names of failed drivers, and query the database once a year regarding the status of their current drivers.

Who’s Impacted?

  • Anyone employing CDL drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) on public roads
  • CDL drivers who operate CMVs on public roads
  • Interstate motor carriers
  • Intrastate motor carriers
  • Federal, State, and local governments
  • Civic organizations (disabled veteran transport, boy/girl scouts, etc.)
  • Faith-based organizations

Generally, all CDL drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles (subject to the CDL requirements on public roads in the U.S.) are subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing. This includes all full-time, part-time, intermittent, backup and international drivers.

What Substances are Tested?

DOT drug tests require laboratory testing for the following five classes of drugs:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates – opium and codeine derivatives
  • Amphetamines and methamphetamines
  • Phencyclidine – PCP

Prior to this ruling, drivers that were flagged or terminated after positive test results have been able to move undetected from one carrier to another.

Some privacy concerns have been addressed. For instance, when a driver’s name appears on the list, he or she would be required to sign a consent form before details about test results, substance abuse treatment and follow-up tests could be released.

To learn more about what this ruling means for CDL operators, visit the FMCSA website.