Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse for CDL Drivers Now Active

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (“FMCSA”) Final Rule establishing the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (“Clearinghouse”) became active on January 6, 2020. The Clearinghouse is an online database giving employers, FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and State law enforcement personnel, real-time information about commercial driver’s license drug and alcohol program violations to improve the safety on our Nation’s roadways.

As of January 6, 2020, FMCSA-regulated employers are required to:

Perform Queries of Applicants and Employees. Employers must query the Clearinghouse before permitting a newly-hired commercial motor vehicle driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Along with the pre-employment query, employers will need to continue to reach out to previous employers as required until January 2023. Employers must further query the Clearinghouse at least once per year for current drivers. Drivers must provide consent before running a query. Employers are required to maintain records of all queries and information obtained in response for a period of three years.

Report Drug and Alcohol Violations. Employers must report a driver’s drug and alcohol program violation(s) (identified below) to the Clearinghouse within three business days after the employer learns of the information. No employer may allow a driver to perform any safety-sensitive function if the results of a query demonstrate that the driver violated the FMCSA’s drug and alcohol program regulations unless the driver has complied with the FMCSA’s return-to-duty process.

Update Drug and Alcohol Policies. While the Final Rule does not change any existing requirements to FMCSA procedures for transportation workplace drug and alcohol testing, employers must add language to their FMCSA drug and alcohol policies notifying drivers and applicants that the following information will be reported to the Clearinghouse:

  • A verified positive, adulterated, or substituted drug test result;
  • An alcohol confirmation test with a concentration of 0.04 or higher;
  • A refusal to submit to a drug or alcohol test;
  • An employer’s report of actual knowledge, that a driver has used alcohol on duty, used alcohol within four hours of coming on duty, used alcohol prior to post-accident testing, or has used a controlled substance.
  • A substance abuse professional’s report of the successful completion of the return-to-duty process;
  • A negative return-to-duty test; and,
  • An employer’s report of completion of follow-up testing.

FMCSA-regulated employers are required to register, create an online account, and purchase query plans through the Clearinghouse website at https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov.

Please reach out to Employers Council if you have additional questions.