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DMV combines forms to help with driver background checks
01/09/2006
pic of DMV form to request records

A new DMV form is helping trucking companies get access to records that show whether or not an Oregon truck driver has tested positive for drugs. The Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division has combined two of its forms so that when a trucking company requests to check a person’s driving record it can include a check of prior drug testing (see DMV Form #7291). Until now, DMV offered two separate forms and companies had to know to use both to request a complete check of records. Companies still need to have drivers sign the form authorizing DMV to release the employment driving record with drug test results.

The new form is designed for companies that establish a DMV Record Inquiry Account by paying a one-time $70 fee and going through the process of qualifying to receive the personal information that appears on records (see Form #6037  and DMV Frequently Asked Questions  about requesting records). They can fax the new combined form to DMV and charge the $3.50 records request fee to their account. Companies that don’t have an account must complete a Request for Information Form (Form #7122) each time they need to check records, go through the process of qualifying to receive the information, attach the separate signed Affidavit to Authorize Release of Employment Driving Record with Drug Test Result Information (Form #7195), and mail all that with a check or money order for $3.50.

Federal safety regulations — FMCSR Part 391.23(e) — related to qualifications of drivers requires anyone hiring a driver with a Commercial Driver License (CDL) to contact the previous employers of the past three years to ask if the driver ever tested positive for controlled substances or alcohol, or ever refused a test. Refusal to take a test is treated as a positive test. Employers must get the person’s written consent to do the background check and that authorization is forwarded to the previous employers. Another part of the law requires employers to release the information when authorized. It’s all intended to help an employer check new hires before they drive a truck or perform a safety sensitive function. Employers must make a good faith effort to get the information within 30 days.

The three-year background check requirement was set in 2004 after a lengthy rulemaking that followed the passage of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1994 (Public Law 103–311). The HazMat Act directed that Part 391.23 be changed to specify three years as the minimum time to be investigated when performing a safety background investigation of driver applicants. The Act required all previous employers to respond to the investigating employer within 30 days of receiving a request.

According to Oregon safety officials, it's common for safety investigators to find that employers did not check an applicant’s background. Out of 2,379 total Safety Compliance Reviews conducted in the past six years, 1,702 (72%) identified problems with motor carriers meeting drug and alcohol testing requirements in general.

The Oregon trucking industry sponsored legislation in 1999 making it a requirement that an Oregon employment driving record must include all instances of positive drug test results. Since March 2000, DMV has been disclosing information about a drug test if the person requesting it has written permission from the person who is the subject of the report. The law does not apply to all truck drivers, only those with an Oregon-issued CDL.