The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, recently issued a new rule which is supposed to help keep drugged and drunk commercial drivers off of the roads.
The new rule, which took effect earlier in November, will require various state agencies which issue licenses to commercial drivers to downgrade a driver’s license within 60 days after receiving notice that the driver failed a drug or alcohol test.
An online publication maintained by the National Safety Council offered a summary of the new measure, which also requires the state agencies to check the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which has information about whether drivers have any history of drug or alcohol violations.
The new rule supposedly closes a gap in the existing process. It appears that drivers who had failed drug or alcohol tests were able to maintain commercial driving privileges for so long as the state agency was not aware of the incident.
Trucking companies should have a robust anti-drug and alcohol policy
Like everyone else, managers in the transportation industry are well aware of the dangers of drugged and drunk driving and would never intentionally hire drivers who engage in such activities.
Certainly, shipping companies who rely on contracted truck drivers should have a robust program to prevent drivers from operating under the influence. They should consistently enforce this program and take all violations seriously.
This change in regulations is a good opportunity for shipping companies to review their policies to prevent drug and alcohol use among drivers.
On the other hand, transportation firms cannot reasonably stop all of their contracted drivers from ever driving with drugs or alcohol in their systems.
There may come times in which a shipping company will need to mount a legal defense after an accident involving a drunk or drugged driver.