The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) requirements went into effect as of January 6, 2020. Due to a network crash, pre-employment queries are unable to be completed. The FMSCA issued a Special Alert on January 9, 2020 stating that employers are allowed to temporarily hire drivers without conducting a full Clearinghouse query. However, once the Clearinghouse database system is active, employers are required to complete a full query for all CLP (commercial learner’s permit) or CDL (commercial driver’s license) drivers hired on or after January 6, 2020. We encourage all FMCSA-regulated motor carriers to regularly monitor the FMCSA website for updates. The Clearinghouse is an online database designed to provide real-time information about a CDL or CLP holder’s history of drug and alcohol program violations by readily identifying drivers who are not qualified to operate CMVs (commercial motor vehicles) based upon drug and alcohol program violations. Clearinghouse also provides information when drivers return to duty after completing the necessary evaluation and treatment. The Clearinghouse requires that FMSCA regulated employers access the database for both current and prospective employees’ drug and alcohol program violations before permitting CMV operation. Employers are additionally required to annually review the database for current employees. CMV drivers are required to create a Clearinghouse account and allow access for any FMCSA-regulated employer. A prospective driver is precluded from hiring until Clearinghouse permission is granted. Those who are presently CMV drivers must provide Clearinghouse access to current employers or must be suspended from further CMV operation. All FMCSA-regulated employers are encouraged to align their drug and alcohol related policies to reflect the Clearinghouse reporting requirements, as well as advise of the required reporting of identified violations/infractions.
Clearinghouse registration is valid for five (5) years, unless cancelled or revoked. The Clearinghouse maintains all CDL driver drug and alcohol program violations and infractions, including but not limited to:
- Report for duty/remain on duty for safety-sensitive function with alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater or while using any drug specified in the regulations, other than those prescribed by authorized medical professional, see 49 CFR § 382.201
- Alcohol use while performing, or within four (4) hours of performing, a safety-sensitive function, see 49 CFR § 382.207
- Alcohol use within eight (8) hours of an accident, or until post-accident test, whichever occurs first, see 49 CFR § 382.209
- Positive test for use of specified drug, see 49 CFR § 382.211
- Refusing to submit to required drug or alcohol test, see 49 CFR §§ 382.211; 382.215
- On duty alcohol use, see 49 CFR § 382.205
- Drug use, see 49 CFR § 382.213
Clearinghouse requirements and procedures is codified at 49 CFR 382, Subpart G §§ 382.701 et seq. Violations of this subpart are subject to the civil and/or criminal penalties of 49 U.S.C. § 521(b)(2)(C). See https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=1&ty=HTML&h=L&mc=true&=PART&n=pt49.5.382#se49.5.382_1701.
The Clearinghouse identified Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that can be accessed on the FMCSA website at https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/FAQ.