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All carriers will still need to comply with the original deadline of Jan. 6, 2020.

FMCSA seeks to extend drug, alcohol clearinghouse deadline for states

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed extending the deadline for states to comply with the final rule establishing a federal drug and alcohol clearinghouse for truck drivers.

The updated proposal would give state agencies until Jan. 6, 2023 before they are required to request clearinghouse information before completing certain commercial driver's license (CDL) transactions. All motor carriers must still comply with the original deadline of Jan. 6, 2020.

FMCSA said in a Federal Register notice the delay is needed so it has time to create an interface between the clearinghouse and state driver licensing agencies. The agency is accepting public comments until Oct. 7.

All states have the option to voluntarily request clearinghouse information beginning on Jan. 6, 2020, the agency said.

As initial implementation of the final rule nears, FMCSA also recently announced it would charge carriers a $1.25 flat fee for each query of the clearinghouse. Fleets will have to check the database before hiring a driver and must use it once a year for drivers already working with the company.

FMCSA estimated the clearinghouse rule will eliminate about 900 crashes a year.

The agency also said it plans to issue another notice of proposed rulemaking in early 2020 addressing concerns from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators regarding what states are supposed to do with the information and about the most efficient ways of electronically transmitting information.

Separately, Instructional Technologies (ITI) recently announced it had released a new drug and alcohol clearinghouse lesson to help fleets prepare for the implementation of the final rule.

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