Interim rule paves way for reporting positive drug tests, refusals to test

| 6/13/2008

Any CDL holder who pops positive in a drug screening or refuses to test may have those results reported to their state licensing agency thanks to a new interim final rule.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued the interim final rule effective, June 13, that removes any roadblocks employers or drug testing facilities may face in reporting positive results or refusals to state licensing agencies.

According to the interim final rule, posted to the Federal Register on Friday, June 13, several states have regulations in place that require the release of certain test results and refusal information for all CDL holders without consent from the person being tested.

However, with the 2000 revamp of the federal drug testing regs, it was the intention of FMCSA officials that state safety agencies with regulatory authority over employers could receive test results and information on refusals to test.

The interim final rule removes the conflict between the wording of the regulation and the intent of agency officials.

“We do not want our regulations to have the effect of prohibiting employers and (third party administrators) of owner-operators from providing the drug and alcohol test results of CMV drivers with CDLs,” FMCSA officials wrote in the interim final rule.

“The department believes that state action to suspend or revoke the CDLs of CMV drivers who violate DOT rules until they demonstrate that they have successfully completed the (substance abuse professional) process can have important safety benefits.”

FMCSA officials stated that by supporting state regulations that allow for the suspension of CDLs for drivers who either test positive or refuse to test will help limit the number of drivers “job hopping” and continuing to perform “safety sensitive operations.”

The immediate changes to the federal regulations do not open the door for state licensing agencies to share test results with other third parties without consent of the driver. The interim rule does not require positive test results and refusals to be forwarded to the state agency; it just authorizes forwarding the information.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor