CDL clearinghouse makes screening process, drug testing more strict for truck/bus drivers

By  | 

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The screening process just got a little more in-depth for more than a million truck drivers in the U.S.

Thanks to a national rule change, drivers will have to join a drug and alcohol clearing house.

That includes thousands of drivers in the Wiregrass.

"Everything we do is about safety,” said Dothan City Schools Transportation Director Jay Bruner.

Jay Bruner's most important job responsibility is making sure kids get to school safely.

Thanks to new drug and alcohol guidelines from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, that job just got a little easier.

"That clearinghouse is basically a digital database,” said Bruner. “It will allow employers to communicate or get the information they need on anyone that had a drug or alcohol violation in the past."

The new clearinghouse requires all CDL truck drivers to register and tracks any failed drug tests.

"If someone were to come in and do a pre-employment drug test and test positive, that individual in the past could leave and go to another school system and pass a clean drug test,” said Bruner. “However, now, that information will be in there that they tested positive for a drug test."

According to the Department Of Labor Statistics, 1.8 million people have a CDL and 200 of those are employed right here with Dothan City Schools.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also increased the amount of random drug tests drivers have to do in a year.

It used to be that 1 in 4 was required to be randomly tested; now it's up to half.

Dothan City Schools was already testing more than the national requirement.

"There was a threshold that it went down to 25% at one time,” said Bruner. “Here in Dothan City Schools, we maintained ours at 50%, because when it comes to the safety of our kids, we can never be too safe."

One potential draw-back of the clearinghouse, it requires drivers to do an extra step, which wouldn't be a problem, if there wasn't already a significant shortage.

"It's one of those things, I'm sure there will be information found out throughout the state on various drivers,” said Bruner.

According to the American Trucking Associations, there is currently a shortage of more than 60,000.

That is projected to swell to 160,000 by 2028.

Bruner will take the growing shortage if it means the drivers he does hire are safe for the children.

"I think it's going to be really good because it's another measure of safety and taking care of our children,” said Bruner.

According to driver reach, more than 90% of CDL drivers applying for jobs have not registered for the clearinghouse yet.

Organizations like Dothan City Schools, have until the end of the year to register their existing drivers.