The new transportation reauthorization bill signed this week by President Obama contains several measures intended to strengthen safety measures for drivers and vehicles regulated by the federal Department of Transportation. The main change in the bill directs DOT to establish a nationwide database of driver drug and alcohol testing results. New employers could use this database when determining qualifications of applicants for driving positions. Congress added the database requirement despite concerns that information on individual drug and alcohol test results would become public knowledge.
In addition to the new database, the bill:
• Requires use of electronic logs for hours of service monitoring
• Creates a system for notifying employers of driver traffic infractions
• Sets minimum training requirements for passenger bus drivers
Actual implementation of these measures depends on funding and issuance by DOT of regulations detailing these requirements, and will be years in the future. The bipartisan passage of this bill indicates somewhat of a consensus on increased attention to and enforcement of traffic safety standards.