Magazine article The Alcoholism Report

Bill for Access to National Driver Register Submitted

Magazine article The Alcoholism Report

Bill for Access to National Driver Register Submitted

Article excerpt

Bill for Access to National Driver Register Submitted

Secretary of Transportation Samuel K. Skinner sent draft legislation to Congress to expand access to the National Driver Register (NDR) to help the Coast Guard identify licensed or prospective merchant mariners who have driving problems that could affect their job performance. A bill with a similar objective was introduced earlier this year by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) who said the need for the measure "was made all too clear by the devastating oil spill" in Valdez, AK, after the tanker, Exxon Valdez, ran aground (AR, April).

"We cannot allow the safety of the traveling public or the quality of our environment to be jeopardized by persons in safety-critical jobs who are drug or alcohol abusers," Skinner said. "The driving-record violations of the captain in the recent Valdez oil spill highlights the need for the Coast Guard to obtain complete information on the background of any person who has applied for or received a merchant mariners document.

Skinner said that the proposed legislation would extend the current law governing access to the NDR and enable the Coast Guard to examine the driving records of men and women with "important transportation responsibilities. …

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