The Department of Transportation (DOT) is on track to publish several rules this summer, including the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a proposed rule to mandate speed limiters, and regulations surrounding fuel efficiency requirements. The proposed regulations have been in the works for years, and DOT is nearing completion on some of the measures.
The Department of Transportation’s monthly regulatory update said the publication date of the final rule for the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which establishes a database of CDL holders who have failed or refused to take a drug test and requires carriers to report the failures and refusals to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), is on track for Aug. 29. Owneroperators must also report to FMCSA the consortium or third-party drug test administrator they use and authorize it to submit information on any of their drivers, including themselves, to the database.
Currently employers must rely on information provided by the driver, “who might not disclose prior positive drug or alcohol test results, or refusals to test,” FMCSA said when it initially proposed the rule.
Under the proposal, employers would be required to check the clearinghouse before hiring as well as annually. To ensure the privacy of drivers involved, each commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder would need to provide his or her consent before an employer could access the clearinghouse. The truck or bus company could still employ drivers who refuse to provide this information, but those drivers could not occupy safety-sensitive positions, such as operating a commercial motor vehicle.
The speed limiter rule would mandate the use of speed limiters in Class 8 trucks. The rule was first proposed years ago, but it has been pushed back several times and is still in the process of being finalized. The rule could be published by the end of summer 2016.
The American Trucking Associations has supported a rule that would require the electronic speed limiter on all large trucks be set no higher than 65 miles per hour, saying that slowing trucks down will reduce the frequency and severity of crashes.
The joint rule between the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that would establish the next phase of fuel efficiency and emissions standards is set to be published Sept. 12, the DOT said. The standards will begin to apply to trailers for model year 2018 units and 2021 for tractors. The plan goes through 2027, when the entire vehicle is required to meet certain standards.