The FMCSA made some changes to its Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse website and registration process based on feedback it has received from drivers, motor carriers, and service agents. The Clearinghouse is a database that allows government regulators, law enforcement, and companies that employ commercial vehicle drivers access to those drivers’ drug and alcohol program record. It is meant to keep track of any violations and compliance with rules related to those violations.
If a driver violates Federal regulations regarding drug and alcohol prohibitions in Title 49 of the Federal Regulations, Part 382, Subpart B, which include testing positive for drug or alcohol use and refusal to take a test the database will be able to show current status in real time. The database also contains information about a driver’s compliance with the return-to-duty process and follow-up testing.
Some of the changes to the website include a new look for the homepage that places the “Register” and “Log In” buttons in a prominent place. There is also a section titled, “Learn More” containing links to informational resources.
The website also has an entirely new page called “Before You Register” that gives drivers who are enrolling a list of information they will need in order to properly register. This page also has information about how to create an account. These changes are meant to make the user experience easier.
Of course, anything that makes using the Clearinghouse database easier and keeping it current is a good thing. This is not only a plus for public safety, but streamlining the process for properly qualified drivers to be able to register and keep current allows CDL workers, who are essential to our economy, to avoid being unnecessarily restricted from duty.
It is additionally imperative that proper measures can be taken to prevent a driver who violates drug or alcohol use provisions from getting behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle. As important as professional truck drivers are to keeping things moving in this country, it is also a dangerous profession. CDL drivers have a duty to keep themselves and their colleagues safe as well as all other travelers. Government and industry should work together to keep the Clearinghouse database as user friendly as possible. It may seem like a simple thing, but it can hopefully save lives.