New database to launch in December 2015

On behalf of Steve Pittman at Chatham — Pittman, PLLC

Mississippi residents can look to new federal clearinghouse rule to reduce impaired commercial driving.

Last year, the federal government announced its decision to institute a new rule designed to help reduce the number of commercial drivers that operate vehicles while impaired. The Commercial Carrier Journal reports that the Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse was approved and initially hoped to be in effect sometime in the first part of 2016.

A more recent publication in OverdriveOnline.com shows that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is ahead of schedule. The new database and rule is scheduled to launch before the end of this year on December 14, 2015.

What is the new rule and database?

The FMCSA is building a set of required steps that must be taken when hiring drivers in accordance with a comprehensive database that will provide information about people who hold commercial driver's licenses. The information pertains to drug and alcohol test results and is directly aimed at reducing impaired operation of commercial vehicles.

Some of the elements of the plan include:

  • All employers will review candidates' database records before making hiring selections.
  • All driving job candidates will agree to and submit to substance testing before being hired for new driving jobs.
  • All employers will receive and submit candidates' substance test results to the database. Both passes and fails must be reported.
  • If a job candidate wishes to abstain from substance testing, that will be noted. In addition, that person will not be allowed to work in a driving position. However, the person can be hired by any company for any non-driving job.
  • On-board driving employees will be subject to annual record reviews to be conducted by the employers.

Many commercial trucks are owned and operated by the same person. In these cases, independent parties must be hired to conduct the database inquiry reviews.

How serious is the problem?

The long-term impact of being involved in a drunk driving accident can include serious injuries or even death. Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2011 indicate that 43 people died due to the actions of impaired truck drivers. In the subsequent year, the number of such deaths rose greatly. With an increase of 86 percent, 80 fatalities occurred.

Alcohol and drugs are equally targeted by the FMCSA. Drugs are known to have the ability to cause impairment as noted in a recent action taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency is working with drug makers to find ways to more

Critical information for accident victims

People in Mississippi who are involved in an accident with a large truck or other commercial vehicle should get proper help immediately. Contacting an attorney with the right experience is a must.