What is the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2015 saw more large truck fatalities in New York than in the prior four years. In 2011, there were 114 people killed in large truck crashes, 100 in 2012 and 118 in 2013. Fatalities declined in 2014 to 98 and then spiked up to 126 in 2015.

The causes of or factors contributing to these crashes may vary. From driver distractions to substance use and more, all are things that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration must be aware of.

In its effort to crack down on impaired operation among truckers, the FMCSA has launched a new database called the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

Program aims to prevent drunk or drugged driving

The Clearinghouse has been in the works for a few years now. One large goal of the initiative is to screen drivers before they are hired and annually thereafter for the presence of drugs or alcohol in their systems. Results of tests can be shared via the database among various employers of truckers as well as state licensing entities.

The Clearinghouse was officially launched at the start of 2017 and the industry is expected to comply fully with its guidelines by the beginning of 2020.

Substance test data and violations to be collected and reported

The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is essentially a data repository. In this database will be the results of drivers' substance tests, any refusals to participate in testings and any violations of drivers related to alcohol or drugs.

Before an employer can hire a new driver, the employer must conduct a thorough review of the driver's record in the Clearinghouse. Less extensive record reviews must happen for already hired drivers once a year.

Prior to receiving a new or renewed commercial driver's license, a driver's records must be reviewed by the appropriate governing state agency. This includes when requesting a CDL in a new state after previously holding a commercial license in another state. The database will connect records among all states to avoid a driver obtaining a license in one state with outstanding violations in another.

New Yorkers deserve to be safe on the roads

To say that every New Yorker has the right to feel safe when on the road should seem obvious. Sadly, that is not always possible as negligent drivers make dangerous choices that can have tragic outcomes for innocent people. After a crash occurs, people should reach out to an attorney to learn how to seek compensation.