U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Andy Beck,202-366-8810
Thursday, July 17, 2003
FMCSA Proposes Rule Concerning
Safety History of New Drivers
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) that would enhance the ability of prospective motor carrier employers to make sound hiring decisions and at the same time ensure commercial motor vehicle driver privacy.
These drivers are responsible for the safe, secure and reliable operation of commercial motor vehicles on our nation's roads and highways," Acting FMCSA Administrator Annette M. Sandberg said. "Providing employers access to more information about driver safety performance history will ultimately save lives.
The SNPRM proposes a limitation on liability for those who are required to provide and use driver safety performance information, and if adopted would enable motor carriers to obtain and use more complete driver background information. Using this information, employers could better assess the potential safety risks of new employees. However, prospective employers would be required to advise driver applicants that they could review, request correction, or refute what a previous employer provided in the driver's employment history.
Under the proposal, a previous employer would, for a period of three years, be required to respond within 30 days to inquiries from prospective motor carriers about an applicant and provide at a minimum the following:
Information verifying the driver worked for that employer and the dates of employment.
Information indicating whether the driver was involved in any reportable accidents.
The driver's three-year alcohol and controlled substance history.
Information indicating whether the driver failed to complete a rehabilitation referral prescribed within the previous three years, but only if that information is recorded with the responding previous employer.
Information indicating whether the driver illegally used alcohol and controlled substances after having completed a rehabilitation referral, but only if that information is recorded with the responding previous employer.
The supplemental proposal increases from two to three years the period during which previous employers must provide information regarding violations of the federal regulations relating to alcohol and controlled substances. This rulemaking also proposes that employers be required to retain reportable accident information for three years. They now are required to keep such information for a year.
FMCSA is publishing this supplemental notice to fulfill its obligations under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, which requires that new employer liability exemptions and driver review and challenge protections be added to the Department of Transportation's March 1996 proposed rule on safety performance history of new drivers. This rule will apply to all motor carrier employers regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) whose employees apply to work for a motor carrier in interstate commerce.
The SNPRM is in the Federal Register today and will be available on the Internet at
. It is available today by searching for docket number FMCSA-97-2277 at
Written comments on this proposal should be sent by Sept. 2, 2003, to the USDOT Docket Facility, Attn: Docket No. FMCSA-97-2277, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590-0001. Comments may be submitted electronically at
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