If you have shuddered upon hearing reports about a serious crash involving a drunk or drugged driver in Kentucky, you are not alone. Your concerns, frustrations and even anger at the impaired driver are certainly understood, especially when that driver is operating a tractor trailer or other commercial vehicle while on duty. It would be nice to think that these truckers would take their responsibilities to drive safely seriously but sadly some do not.
This is part of why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration created its drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule. Among the provisions of this rule is the requirement for agencies at the state level to review the records of every driver who requests a commercial driving license in that state. This includes any new, transferred, upgraded or renewed license as a commercial driver. These records housed in the clearinghouse would show any failed drug or alcohol tests.
The goal of the rule was to prevent impaired truckers from operating commercial vehicles and to thereby improve safety on the roads for everyone. In order to make this happen, however, simply allowing a state licensing agency to be aware that a trucker failed a test can do nothing to achieve this goal. It is only by preventing that trucker from obtaining their desired license and therfore operating a commercial vehicle can the safety improvement be realized.
Transport Topics indicates that this power was somehow left out of the original FMCSA rule but an effort to have it included is underway.