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Regulatory Update: Federal Register Notice FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse System of Records

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A Notice of a new system of records was published in Federal Register on October 22, 2019 at Vol.84, No. 204, Tuesday, October 22, 2019. 

Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 

[Docket No. DOT-OST-2019-0137] 

Privacy Act of 1974: Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; DOT/FMCSA 010 Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-10-22/pdf/2019-22915.pdf

After providing background information of the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, the Notice describes and proposes three additional “Routine Uses” or ways and to whom the information in the FMCSA Clearinghouse https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov may be shared. These “Routine Uses” are proposed in addition to the general routine uses applicable to all DOT systems of records described in the Notice. The three additional proposed “Routine Uses” include the following. They are further explained and justified in the Notice.

 

  1. Allow the sharing of driver eligibility and compliance data with Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) partner agencies, for use during investigations, roadside inspections and compliance reviews of motor carriers.
  2. Allow the sharing of driver’s CMV operating status (prohibited or not prohibited) in response to mandatory queries conducted by a State Driver’s Licensing Agency (SDLA) anytime a CDL is issued, renewed, transferred or upgraded.
  3. Allow the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) upon request, to receive information on a driver who is involved in a crash under investigation by the NTSB (as mandated by 49 USC 31306a (i)).

The Notice of a new system of records invites written comments to be submitted on or before November 21, 2019.  The Notice does not specifically state what it is inviting written comments on. It is unclear as to whether the request for comments relates to the entire Notice content including the Clearinghouse System of Records generally or more specifically to the addition of the foregoing “Routine Uses”, but is likely the former.

 

Per the Notice and relative to the Privacy Act a “system of records” is explained as follows at page 56523 of the Federal Register notice. 

Privacy Act

The Privacy Act governs the means by which the Federal Government agencies collect, maintain, use, and disseminate

individuals’ records. The Privacy Act applies to information that is maintained in a ‘‘system of records.’’ 

A‘‘system of records’’ is a group of any records under the control of an agency from which information is retrieved by

the name of an individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the

individual. The Privacy Act extends rights and protections to individuals who are U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Additionally, the Judicial Redress Act (JRA) provides a covered person with a statutory right to make requests for access and

amendment to covered records, as defined by the JRA, along with judicial review for denials of such requests. In addition, the JRA prohibits disclosures of covered records, except as otherwise permitted by the Privacy Act.

 

The Notice details the description of the Clearinghouse System of Records and includes the following information:

 

 

  • SYSTEM NAME AND NUMBER: DOT FMCSA 010 – Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse)
  • SECURITY CLASSIFICATION
  • SYSTEM LOCATION
  • SYSTEM MANAGER(S)
  • AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM
  • PURPOSE(S) OF THE SYSTEM
  • CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM
  • CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM
  • RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES
  • ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND PURPOSES OF SUCH USERS
  • DEPATMENT GENERAL ROUTINE USES
  • POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORAGE OF RECORDS
  • POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR RETRIEVAL OF RECORDS
  • POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR RETENTION AND DISPOSAL OF RECORDS
  • ADMINISTRATIVE, TECHNICAL, AND PHYSICAL SAFEGUARDS
  • RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURES
  • CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURES
  • NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES
  • EXEMPTIONS PROMULGATED FOR THE SYSTEM
  • HISTORY

 

 

Users of the Clearinghouse should consider:

  • Reviewing this Notice with their legal counsel in order to understand the proposed system of records, 
  • Determine if and how the Notice may impact their obligations under the FMCSA Clearinghouse and 
  • Decide whether to comment on the Notice before November 21, 2019. 

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