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New FMCSA rule creates more accountability for commercial drivers

It can be scary sharing the road with semi-trucks and other large vehicles. When a commercial driver makes a mistake, it can be dangerous to the surrounding cars.

In 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) amended its regulations in 2017 to include the Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse). Earlier this year, utilizing the database that the Clearinghouse established became mandatory.

Here’s how the database established by the Clearinghouse will help prevent commercial truck accidents.

There were loopholes

When commercial drivers are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, it can create an especially dangerous situation for everyone around them. FMCSA has had rules for a long time about commercial drivers who have drug or alcohol violations.

Unfortunately, there were ways for drivers to get around the rules that would keep them off the road by changing employers. Drivers were also able to avoid the consequences of their violations by moving to another jurisdiction.

Getting dangerous drivers off the road

The previous system counted on drivers and past employers to share information when a driver started working for a new company. The Clearinghouse is meant to close the loophole.

By establishing a database for the drug and alcohol violations of commercial drivers, the Clearinghouse can help employers when they screen potential employees.

Since the Clearinghouse is a national database, a driver’s record will also follow them to another state. Now, when a driver applies for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in another state, their history is available on the Clearinghouse.

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