FMCSA Rule Requires States to Revoke CDLs for Drug, Alcohol Violators

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is requiring states revoke commercial driver’s licenses for those with alcohol and drug violations.

The new rule published in the Federal Register on October 7 amends regulations to establish requirements for state driver’s licensing agencies (SDLAs) to access and use information obtained through the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The new rule, which takes effect on November 8, states that SDLAs must not issue, renew, upgrade, or transfer a CDL, or commercial learner’s permit (CLP) due to one or more drug and alcohol program violations.

In addition, SDLAs must remove the CLP or CDL privilege from the driver’s license of an individual subject to the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driving prohibition, which would result in a downgrade of the license until the driver complies with return-to-duty (RTD) requirements. This rule also requires states receiving Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) grant funds to adopt a compatible CMV driving prohibition applicable to CLP and CDL holders who violate FMCSA’s drug and alcohol program requirements.

Most states currently do not receive drug and alcohol program violation information about CDL or CLP holders, FMCSA noted. Therefore, the agency pointed out, these SDLAs are unaware when a CMV operator is subject to the driving prohibition, and those CMV operators continue to hold valid CDLs or CLPs despite these driving prohibitions.

States must comply with the final rule by November 18, 2024. Petitions for reconsideration of the rule must be submitted this year to FMCSA no later than November 8.

According to the FMCSA notice, states must amend their laws or regulations to ensure compatibility with any new addition or amendment to the rule “as soon as practicable, but not later than three years after the effective date of such changes.”

The agency said it believes a three-year period gives states “sufficient time to adopt necessary changes in state law and regulation, conduct training for SDLA personnel, and complete information technology changes that will allow SDLAs to request and receive Clearinghouse information electronically.”

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