New CDL rule is tied to use of banned substances

October 9, 20210

The FMCSA published requirements for the SDLA, which calls for a ban on truckers from driving commercial vehicles if they have problems with the use of alcohol and illegal substances.

Now the SDLA is no longer able to issue, prolog and renew CDLs or students’ commercial license permits (CLP) without first checking with the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a database that contains records of drug and alcohol violations.

The FMCSA said most SDLAs have no knowledge of drug or alcohol abuse about licensed drivers in their state. Accordingly, they are unaware that a CDL or CLP driver has violations coming from the substance use.

“The rule ensures that all SDLAs can determine whether the FMCSA prohibits licensed commercial vehicle drivers in their state from driving commercial vehicles,” the agency said.

The new rule will also require the SDLA to downgrade the CLP or CDL license for individuals who are prohibited from driving commercial vehicles and doing any other safety related functions due to drug and alcohol abuse.

The SDLA will now be able to obtain information about the prohibited driver status from the Clearinghouse at the time of license issuance or when the FMCSA “sends” a notification to the SDLA, as soon as the Clearinghouse is filed with the required violation report.

The FMCSA says that notifications will also be sent to the SDLA to inform them that the driver met the necessary requirements to return to work and is no longer prohibited from driving a commercial vehicle.

The FMCSA says the downgrade requirement will help law enforcement agencies more quickly determine if a driver is banned from driving a commercial vehicle during roadside checks.

Final rule also requires states that receive MCSAP grants to pass a joint commercial vehicle driving ban that will apply to CLP and CDL owners who violate the FMCSA drug and alcohol program requirements.

The final rule is scheduled to come into effect no later than November 18, 2024.

You can find the final rule in the Federal Register at this link.


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