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DOT Issues National Emergency Declaration

March 17, 2020
FMCSA Doubles Drug Testing Rate to 50% for 2020
 
The FMCSA increased the minimum annual percentage rate for random drug testing for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) requiring a commercial driver's license (CDL) from the current rate of 25% of the average number of driver positions to 50% of the average number of driver positions, effective January 1, 2020 . The Random Alcohol Testing Rate remains at 10% .
 
The FMCSA estimates that the economic impact of the increased positive test rate will result in a $50 million to $70 million increase in industry costs. Yikes! Additionally, employers can expect to pay increased costs due to more drivers being testing, as well as an increase in the time spent on notifications to drivers and related administrative work.
 
FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Identifies Nearly 8,000 Substance Abuse Violations in First Weeks of Operation
 
The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is now fully operational,
Photo courtesy FMCSA
 
and  mandatory use is in effect. The FMCSA reports that the clearinghouse has more than 650,000 registrants. The clearinghouse was created to keep roads safer for CMV drivers and those they share the road with. The clearinghouse identifies drivers prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions due to a drug and alcohol program violation in real time .
 
And apparently, it works! The FMCSA reported that the clearinghouse has detected and identified nearly 8,000 positive substance abuse tests of commercial drivers since January 6, 2020 !
 
As a reminder, the DOT has made it perfectly clear that state initiatives will have no bearing on the Department of Transportation’s regulated drug testing program . The Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation – 49 CFR Part 40 – does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana , FOR ANY REASON. 
 
Mar 13, 2020-US DOT Issues National Emergency Declaration for Commercial Vehicles Delivering Relief in Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak
 
The FMCSA issued an historic national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to CMV drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak following President Trump issuing of a national emergency declaration.
 
The regulatory relief is for CMV operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for:
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants, necessary for healthcare worker, patient and community safety, sanitation, and prevention of COVID-19 spread in communities.
  • Food for emergency restocking of stores.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary for establishment and management of temporary housing and quarantine facilities related to COVID-19.
  • Persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for transport for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
  • Personnel to provide medical or other emergency services. 
 
Per the FMCSA, to ensure continue safety on the nation’s roadways, the emergency declaration stipulates that once a driver has completed his or her delivery, the driver must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property , and 8 hours if transporting passengers . 
 
Earlier this month, the FMCSA submitted an historic Hours of Service regulations rule change to the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The rule proposes reforms to the existing hours of service regulations to improve safety and increase flexibility for commercial vehicle drivers based on feedback the FMCSA received from stakeholders across the country to its Notice of Proposed Rule Making last fall.
 
International Roadcheck Set for May 5-7 with Emphasis on Driver Requirements
 
Photo courtesy of CVSA
 
 Per the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA): "International Roadcheck will take place May 5-7 . International Roadcheck is a high-volume, high-visibility three-day enforcement initiative that highlights the importance of commercial motor vehicle safety through roadside inspections. Over that 72-hour period, commercial motor vehicle inspectors in jurisdictions throughout North America will conduct inspections on commercial motor vehicles and drivers.
 
Each year, International Roadcheck places special emphasis on a category of violations. This year’s focus is on the driver requirements category of a roadside inspection. According to the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) fiscal 2019 data (as of Dec. 27, 2019), of the 3.36 million inspections conducted, 944,794 driver violations were discovered, of which 195,545 were out-of-service conditions."
 
For more information on fleet safety best practices or to schedule driver training, contact:
Christina Anderson | 224-239-6762 | email: CAnderson@corkillinsurance.com