DOT amends drug, alcohol violation reporting

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is authorizing employers to disclose drug and alcohol violations of their drivers to state commercial driver license (CDL) authorities--when a state law requires such reporting, according to a DOT interim rule published June 13 in the Federal Register.

The rule (49 CFR Part 40) also permits third-party administrators to provide the same information to state CDL licensing authorities where state law requires them to do so for owner-operators.

"The department is concerned that, in the absence of such action, CMV (commercial motor vehicle) drivers with CDLs who do not seek required Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) evaluations, yet continue to perform safety-sensitive duties after they violate the department's drug and alcohol regulations (so-called "job hoppers"), pose an unacceptable safety risk to the public," DOT stated in the publication. "We believe measures taken by states to suspend or revoke the CDL licenses of CMV drivers who violate DOT drug and alcohol rules will enhance the department's efforts to ensure that such drivers are evaluated by SAPs and receive treatment or education before they resume safety-sensitive duties."

DOT emphasized that the amendment is not an employer mandate for sending information to state authorities, but authorizes them to comply with the specifics of state requirements.

The rule is effective June 13, 2008. Comments to the interim final rule should be submitted by August 12, 2008. Late-filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable, according to the information.

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