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Webinar Q&A: Drugs, Drivers, and Testing – Navigating the Challenges in Trucking

Did you have a chance to attend our recent webinar panel, "Drugs, Drivers, and Testing – Navigating the Challenges in Trucking"? We received more questions than we had time to answer in the allotted time frame, so our expert panelists have answered them below in this Q&A-style blog post. If you weren’t able to join the live webinar, don’t worry – you can watch it on-demand anytime!

Question: Thoughts on problems with BAT testing using breathalyzer.

Answer: Law enforcement has relied on breath testing devices for several years. However, they must be certified and maintained in a controlled environment to be usable in court. Portable breath testers are still accurate but not usable for court purposes. Discretion should be taken with their use in the field and only used by a trained operator.

Question: The hot topic in yesterday's FMCSA Safety Summit was around hair testing. It's my understanding that several mega carriers are now implementing hair testing as part of their qualification process. I don't recall if it was discussed, but just curious if those positive test results are uploaded in the Clearinghouse and, if not, do you anticipate FMCSA making a change to include these types of violation results?

Answer: No, hair test results should not be uploaded into the Clearinghouse. Only approved DOT testing methods should be uploaded. If/when hair testing becomes an DOT approved testing method, it will be included in the Clearinghouse.

Question: Similar to material shared this week by the FMCSA for TPR and user systems integration, do you foresee the same being implemented for the Clearinghouse (vs manual data entry)?

Answer: In the long run, FMCSA plans to develop an API to ease integration with the Clearinghouse. It’s on their enhancements roadmap but is not currently a high priority.

Question: The company I am with employs both CDL and non-CDL drivers. I have asked the question directly to the Clearinghouse site if my non-CDL drivers need to take part in this, but there has been no answer. Can you provide any insight on this?

Answer: Non-CDL drivers do not need to participate in the Clearinghouse. Only drivers subject to 49 CFR Part 382, drivers who have a CDL and operate equipment for which a CDL is required, need to participate. Furthermore, the Clearinghouse will not contain information on drivers without a CDL.

Question: Thoughts on violation of "refusal" or "failed to provide sufficient specimen" during a pre-employment drug screen?

Answer: A refusal should not be logged for pre-employment drug tests unless the driver is handed the cup and then refuses to properly complete the process (does not follow instructions, tries to defeat the test). These determinations are made by the MRO. These drivers are ineligible to operate a CMV requiring a CDL until after they complete the return to duty process.

Question: Is there language for commercial driver training schools and requirements for the Clearinghouse if the individual doesn't have a CDL coming into the school?

Answer: Truck driver training schools are considered employers for the purposes of 49 CFR Part 382. See guidance question 2 here. According to the rules, employers of drivers with a CDL or CLP must obtain a pre-employment full query on the driver before he or she is allowed to operate a CMV requiring a CDL.

Question: Can CDL holders have a Medical Marijuana Card and their Class A license at the same time? Are they required to surrender their Medical card? (Since this would seem to mean that a Dr. is stating that they need the Marijuana to function for some reason)

Answer: They can have a medicinal MJ card but cannot possess MJ or have it in their system, which pretty much defeats the purpose. A MMJ card does not except anyone from the rules. It is still illegal at the federal level and a doctor’s prescription does not change any of this.


Stay up to date on CDL trucking trends! Be sure to check out the DriverReach blog or follow us on LinkedIn for other relevant articles and head over to our webinars page for an up-to-date list of upcoming events and on-demand recordings.

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