FMCSA Proposes “CMV Driving Ban” for Drug and Alcohol Violators
Washington D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is seeking new regulations requiring State Driver’s Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) to do more to keep unfit commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers off of the road.
In a newly issued Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the Agency proposes to prohibit SDLAs from from issuing, renewing, upgrading, or transferring a commercial driver’s license (CDL), or commercial learner’s permit (CLP), for individuals prohibited under current regulations from driving a CMV due to controlled substance (drug) and alcohol program violations.
“Currently, most States are not aware when a CDL holder licensed in their State is prohibited from driving a CMV due to an alcohol or drug testing violation,” the FMCSA advised in its NPRM.
Under current Federal regulations, SDLAs must query the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse during the licensing process, but they are not required to deny the licensing transaction.
The FMCSA says that as a result of this gap in the Federal regulations, “a driver can continue to hold a valid CLP or CDL, even while prohibited from operating a CMV under FMCSA’s drug and alcohol regulations.”
The NPRM would require the SDLA to deny the licensing transaction after a query to the Clearinghouse indicates the driver is prohibited from operating a CMV.
“A driver whose licensing transaction is denied would need to re-apply after completing return-to-duty (RTD) requirements,” the FMCSA said. “The CMV driving ban is intended to keep these drivers off the road until they comply.”
One way the Agency is proposing to notify SDLAs of a disqualification is via “push” notifications directly from the Clearinghouse.
Further, the FMCSA is also proposing to revise how reports of actual knowledge violations, based on a citation for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in a CMV, would be maintained in the Clearinghouse.
The public comment period on the NPRM is sixty days.