On October 29, 2020, U.S. Senator Ed Markey of MA sent a letter to FMCSA highlighting what he says are “egregious failures” of the Agency to oversee the safety of the trucking industry. Sen. Markey implored FMCSA to implement stronger oversight and respond to several questions, including this one:

Why has the FMCSA resisted calls for the agency to establish a centralized, comprehensive safety database that could assist trucking companies in conducting background checks for their drivers, even though similar systems exist for vehicle operators in other modes of transportation such a pilots of commercial planes?”

A curious question since STC is unaware of any sustained calls for FMCSA to establish this type of driver safety clearinghouse. No matter, it’s an interesting idea considering motor carriers:

  1. Obtain an MVR at time of hire, and annually;
  2. Perform pre-hire driver drug & alcohol history checks via the new drug & alcohol Clearinghouse, and from previous employers;
  3. Complete employment & driver safety history checks from previous employers; and,
  4. Conduct a voluntary Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) driver safety check.

Is a centralized, single-source driver safety database a better approach? Maybe, but is there really enough political will to make this happen? Let’s face it, States will not (and perhaps cannot?) share MVR data. And, it took more than 20 years for the drug and alcohol Clearinghouse to go from conception to reality; imagine how long it might take to stand up a single source Driver Safety Clearinghouse. STC’s idea is for FMCSA to merge driver PSP data (inspection violations and crash data) into the new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. We’d love to hear thoughts on this idea – feel free to share them with STC Vice President Sean Garney at sgarney@scopelitisconsulting.com.