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FMCSA gives states 60 days to downgrade licenses of CMV drivers with drug, alcohol violations

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Washington — State driver’s licensing agencies will have 60 days to initiate mandatory downgrades of commercial driver’s licenses and commercial learner’s permits once notified that a commercial motor vehicle operator has failed a drug or alcohol test, under a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration final rule set to go into effect Nov. 8.

FMCSA contends that the rule plugs both a “knowledge gap” and “loophole” in present regulations, which prohibit SDLAs from issuing, renewing, upgrading and transferring CDLs or CLPs for drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol until those drivers complete FMCSA’s return-to-duty process.

 

“Currently, most SDLAs do not receive drug and alcohol program violation information about CDL or CLP holders licensed in their state,” the rule states. “Therefore, these SDLAs are unaware when a CMV operator is subject to the driving prohibition … and the CMV operator continues to hold a valid CDL or CLP despite the driving prohibition.”

SDLAs are required to consult FMCSA’s online Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which provides real-time national data on CMV drivers who have failed drug and alcohol tests, before issuing or renewing licenses. They will have until Nov. 18, 2024, to comply with the new rule.

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