National Database for tracking drug and alcohol violations

Submitted on May 31, 2011

The creation of a national database for tracking drug and alcohol violations of commercial motor vehicles is an ambitious project that has been in the works at DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for several years. There is also apparent cooperation between DOT and HHS on the database  as evidenced in HHS laying the foundation for data capture in the form of the new Custody and Control Form that requires collectors to note for what DOT modality the drug test is being performed. The Office of Management and Budget has also played a role in mandating that HHS develop and implement an electronic custody and control form — another essential requirement for this database to become a reality. The hope is that all of these activities will come together in the next two to three years.

This federal database initiative has been driven in a large degree by the trucking industry. The trucking industry has complained for years that their member carriers see commercial drivers who have been terminated for drug and/or alcohol violations one or more times still on the road driving with other carriers. This industry complaint has been validated by observations of DOT, FHMCA the Government Accounting Office (GAO) and service providers. The 2008 GAO report on safety and drug testing of commercial drivers recommended to Congress that a national database was needed.

A great deal of the nuts and bolts and framework has been done and a draft of a proposed Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) is in circulation around DOT and other governmental agencies for comment. The hope is that the NPRM will be published this fall. Simultaneously, a Senate bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate mandating the creation of the database and adding specific requirements.