Many people in Ohio hold commercial driving licenses and know that part of the responsibility that comes along with this privilege and this line of work is that they may be under greater scrutiny at times than can drivers who only hold individual or standard driving licenses. One example of this is that the threshold for determining intoxication among a person with a commercial license when driving for work is a blood alcohol content of 0.04 percent. That is half the standard for people in standard passenger vehicles.

In late 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration finalized what it called the drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule. This rule mandated that a special database and process be launched by January 2020 designed to increase oversight on drivers’ use of drugs and alcohol. Under this rule, any company or person hiring a commercial driver cannot complete the hiring process until the candidate passes a substance test. Results of these tests are to be submitted to the database.

In addition, employers must review the database once per year to be alerted to any new violations of their drivers. Agencies that issue drivers’ licenses must also review the database records before issuing a new, renewed or transferred commercial license.

However, as Transport Topics reported early this year, the rule somehow was written in such a way as to not grant agencies the right to deny licenses to drivers who fail tests or who refuse to take them. Efforts are underway to get this incorporated into the rule which might make things more complicated for commercial drivers.