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FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, DOT Return to Duty Process, and the SAP Evaluation

February 14, 2021

Why was a Clearinghouse Created?

In January 2020 the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched an internet-based national clearinghouse database that all Commercial Drivers License (CDL) regulated drivers were supposed to have registered in, as well as all employers that hire CDL drivers. The clearinghouse was created largely to function as a fast and reliable way for employers to get information on a prospective driver. Previous to the clearinghouse, employers had to contact the driver’s previous employer to check their record or see if there were any violations. This system was often time-consuming, unreliable, or unavailable. The new clearinghouse is intended to help employers get information quickly so drivers can get hired faster.

When Would You get a Violation Recorded in the Clearinghouse?

Violations are posted and recorded in the clearinghouse any time there is a failed or refused urine drug screen or breath alcohol test. The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires testing for pre-employment, post-accident, random, or reasonable suspicion tests. Any time a positive test results in a violation that driver must go through the Return to Duty Process and are suspended from read more

January 17, 2021

What is Recreational Marijuana?

Medical marijuana has been around for some time and is legal in most states with a valid medical diagnosis such as glaucoma, epilepsy, cancer, and, just recently in Minnesota, PTSD. Medical marijuana is closely regulated, prescribed by a physician, and used to alleviate symptoms of a medical condition. Recreational marijuana, on the other hand, is pot used by regular citizens without a medical reason. Recreational marijuana typically has a higher THC content than medicinal varieties and produces a euphoric high that medical varieties typically do not.

How Many States Permit it?

There are currently 11 states (CA, WA, OR, NV, IL, MI, ME, MA, CO, VT, AK) and the District of Columbia that have legalized recreational marijuana. For many states, recreational marijuana has become a tax revenue boon. For instance, in 2018 the state of Colorado sold roughly $1.2 billon in recreational marijuana. This produced around $270 million dollars in tax revenue for the state, over 5X the tax revenue of the $45 million the stated collected on alcohol tax. With sales producing this sort of revenue, it may only be a matter of time before the other states follow suit with legalizing recreational marijuana.

Are People in Favor of Legalization?

It seems attitudes toward marijuana and its legalization have been changing over the last decade. Nea read more

May 23, 2020

The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) oversees alcohol and drug testing for employees that perform work under a few different groups. Probably the largest group is the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), which includes all bus and truck drivers across the entire country who are required to operate with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). read more

January 26, 2020

The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) oversees alcohol and drug testing for employees that perform work under a few different groups. Probably the largest group is the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), which includes all bus and truck drivers across the entire country who are required to operate with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) covers all those people working and operating with the railroads. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) covers all airline pilots and air traffic control personnel. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) covers all people working on the gas pipelines or working with transportation of hazardous materials. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) covers all workers involved in mass transit. Finally, the US Coast Guard (USCG) also covers all coast guard members under their drug testing program.

The purpose of the DOT’s alcohol and drug testing program is to ensure the safety of the general public. Because all these federal departments are in charge of operations that could have significant impact of the public and in many cases large numbers of people at one time, the Department of Transportation hold rigorous standards for workers to ensure they are physically fit to

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