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What is the federal drug and alcohol clearinghouse?

While driving alongside tractor trailers, you may feel confident that the truck driver operating the big rig next to you is licensed and is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, there are a significant number of truckers in Hartford and across Connecticut who drive after drinking or taking drugs, and as a result, places the lives of innocent motorists in danger. In order to reduce the threat of drunk and drugged truck drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed the creation of a federal drug and alcohol clearinghouse and a rule mandating that trucking companies utilize the program when hiring truck drivers.

Trucking companies should perform drug and alcohol screenings on truck drivers before hiring them, as well as periodically throughout their term of employment, according to Commercial Carrier Journal. However, there is no central database that trucking companies can use to determine whether the trucker has had any previous instances of drunk or drugged driving, and whether a driver has refused to take a drug and alcohol test.

The federal clearinghouse would act as this central database, allowing trucking companies access to this crucial information. Companies would be required to report all drivers who have refused or failed a drug and/or alcohol test, and update the file at least once a year. Furthermore, any traffic violations a trucker obtained from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol would also be reported in the database.

Although companies would be required to obtain permissions from the drivers before checking the federal clearinghouse, access to this database could potentially save lives.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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