The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced that registration for the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse has opened. The secure online database provides employers, FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies and State law enforcement personnel real-time information about CDL driver drug and alcohol program violations, making it easier for FMCSA to determine employer compliance with testing, investigation and reporting requirements. Mandatory use of the FMCSA Clearinghouse will begin on January 6, 2020.
To comply with these new regulations, employers and their service agents must register, log-in and begin using the Clearinghouse to:
- Report an active driver’s drug and alcohol violation(s), based on the bulleted list below, within three business days of learning about the incident. Employers must also prohibit drivers who have violated FMCSA drug and alcohol program regulations from performing safety-sensitive duties unless the driver complies with the US Department of Transportation return-to-duty rule, 49 CFR Part 40, Subpart 0, which requires employees undergo SAP evaluation, possible treatment, return-to-duty testing and follow-up testing.
- Query the Clearinghouse for driver-applicant records before allowing newly-hired drivers to begin operating a commercial motor vehicle, making it easier for employers to meet their pre-employment investigation and reporting requirements.
- Perform annual queries of current employees at least once a year. Employers must also maintain records of all queries for a period of three years. After January 6, 2023, maintaining a valid registration with the Clearinghouse fulfills this requirement for the employer.
This new rule also requires employers to add the following drug and alcohol violation language to their FMCSA drug and alcohol testing policies, notifying drivers and driver-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, as defined at 49 CFR § 382.107;
- On duty alcohol use pursuant to 49 CFR § 382.205;
- Pre-duty alcohol use pursuant to 49 CFR § 382.207;
- Alcohol use following an accident pursuant to 49 CFR § 382.209;
- Drug use pursuant to 49 CFR § 382.213;
- An SAP’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.
Motor carrier employers must receive driver and driver-applicant consent to conduct a limited query of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a sample limited consent form is available, and employers are encouraged to use or adapt the content as they see fit.
How to Register:
Employers and their service agents can access and register for the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse at https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/.
Clearinghouse registration is valid for five years, unless cancelled or revoked.
FMCSA has developed a learning center for the Clearing House, it contains a program factsheet, brochures to assist implementation for several types of users including: CDL Driver, Employer, Owner-Operator, Third-Party Administrators, Medical Review Officer and Substance Abuse Professionals, information about queries and consent request, including factsheets, plan details, information on purchasing a query plan and bulk queries. Employers can also download the user role card to assist with compliance of required actions.