By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – To help improve roadway safety, Canadian County officials will now have access to an online database of commercial driver’s license, CDL, holders.
Canadian County Commissioners on March 29 agreed to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, FMCSA’s, CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse through the U.S Department of Transportation.
About 50 Canadian County employees are CDL drivers.
“We agree with the concept of what it does,” Canadian County Commission Chairman Jack Stewart said. “Without a clearinghouse nationwide, there would be no way to track CDL applicants who have a less-than-satisfactory record.”
Terry Beaver of Insight Screening Services, the Canadian County drug and alcohol testing company, explained the program during the commissioners’ weekly meeting at the Canadian County Administration Building, 201 N Choctaw.
Canadian County must join the clearinghouse because it employs CDL drivers, he noted.
The clearinghouse is a secure online database that gives employers, FMCSA, state driver licensing agencies, and state law enforcement personnel real-time information about CDL driver drug and alcohol program violations – thereby enhancing safety on the nation’s roadways.
There wasn’t a database previously. So, when a prospective employer was going to hire a CDL driver, they had to contact the previous employer and request a drug and alcohol check history.
“This replaces that,” Beaver said.
The employer must report any CDL driver who fails a breath alcohol test to the clearinghouse. A medical review officer reports any drug test violation to the online database.
An act of Congress directed the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to establish this drug and alcohol clearinghouse, which contains information about drivers with CDLs who are covered by FMCSA’s drug and alcohol programs.
$1.25 PER QUERY
The only cost to Canadian County will be to query the database to learn about a CDL driver’s background. The cost is $1.25 per query.
Canadian County must be registered with the clearinghouse to access the online database.
The clearinghouse improves highway safety by:
• Making is easier for employers to meet their pre-employment investigation and reporting obligations.
• Making it more difficult for drivers to conceal their drug and alcohol program violations from current or prospective employers.
• Providing roadside inspectors and other enforcement personnel with the means to ensure that drivers require evaluation and treatment before performing safety-sensitive functions – such as driving a commercial motor vehicle.
• Making it easier for FMCSA to determine employer compliance with testing, investigation and reporting requirements.
The clearinghouse affects all CDL drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles on public roads, and their employers and service agents.
THIS AND THAT …
In other business at their March 29th meeting, Canadian County Commissioners approved:
• Requiring Canadian County’s elected officials to reimburse the county for any health benefit allowances and deferred saving matches they were ineligible for since Jan. 1, 2017. Each affected county officer must pay the funds back either by lump sum or payroll deduction by the end of their current term in office. The vote was 2-1, with District 1 Commissioner Marc Hader dissenting.
• Amending the six-month bid for Jan. 1-June 30 to change vendors to Vance Brothers of Oklahoma City to provide CRS2 and CRS2+ road oil for plant pickup. Commissioners had previously awarded the bid to a Lawton company and District 2 Commissioner Dave Anderson said it’s more practical to drive a larger tanker 20 miles to Oklahoma City to pick up oil.
• Advertising for bids for a 4,000-gallon tank / truck conversion in District 2.
Chairman Stewart presented the county jail report showing a total inmate population of 250, with 207 at the detention center in El Reno and 43 housed in other counties.
Canadian County’s inmate count jumped by 12 over the previous week as 29 prisoners await transfer to state Department of Corrections’ custody.