Trucking Group Pushes for National Database Tracking Driver Drug, Alcohol Test Results
WASHINGTON, D.C. --– American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves this week urged Congress to authorize and fund a centralized clearinghouse for positive drug and alcohol testing results of commercial motor vehicle drivers. The aim is to ensure that motor carrier employers are aware of previous positive test results during the hiring process. Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Graves said such a clearinghouse would improve the industry's ability to keep alcohol and drug abusers off the road and improve safety on the nation's roadways. ATA has lobbied for a national clearinghouse of positive test results since the 1990s. In 2004, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported to Congress on the merits of reporting positive test results to states. Currently, five states have instituted a drug and alcohol clearinghouse. "ATA and its members believe that state-based reporting efforts are a good first step, but the optimal solution is a national clearinghouse," Graves said. "The trucking industry is a national industry. State by state action will result in a patchwork quilt of differing reporting requirements by different people, with different commercial driver licensing actions or outcomes for truck drivers depending upon which state issued their license. A national solution is the optimal approach to addressing this issue." The federal government first required drug and alcohol testing of commercial truck drivers in 1995. As measured by a percentage of positive test results, drug abuse in the trucking industry is less than half of that found in the general work force. However, the percentage has remained between 2 percent and 2.5 percent of the truck driver population since required testing began.