The Hub

Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
Driver Resources August 7, 2019

Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has created a database called the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This new database contains information pertaining to violations of the U.S. Department of Transportation controlled substances and alcohol testing program for CDL holders.  The goal of the Clearinghouse is to improve highway safety by helping employers, FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and State law enforcement to quickly and efficiently identify drivers who are not legally permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles due to drug and alcohol program violations.

The Clearinghouse requires the following:

  • Employers must query the Clearinghouse for prospective employees’ drug and alcohol violations before permitting those employees to operate a commercial motor vehicle.
  • Employers are required to run annual queries in the Clearinghouse for each driver they currently employ.
  • State Driver Licensing Agencies are required to query the Clearinghouse whenever a CDL is issued, renewed, transferred, or upgraded.

Records of a driver’s drug and alcohol violations remain in the clearinghouse for a period of 5 years or until the driver’s completion of return-to-duty process, whichever is later.

Mandatory registration and use of the Clearinghouse went into effect January 6, 2020. Until January 6, 2023, employers are still required to request Drug and Alcohol information from the driver’s previous FMCSA-regulated employers in addition to querying the Clearinghouse. After January 6, 2023, employers will only have to query the Clearinghouse, eliminating manual D&A violation information requests of prior employers.

To better assist motor carriers, FMCSA has set up a new phone line for support with the FMCSA Portal. The Portal Registration Call Center’s hours of operation are Monday thru Friday, 8:00 am-8:00 pm, EDT.

FMCSA Portal Registration Call Center: 800-724-2811

Clearinghouse Help Line: 844-955-0207

How does the Clearinghouse work?

  • As of Jan 6, 2020- Employers, MROs, Providers, TPAs and Substance Abuse Professionals will enter positive drug test results, refusals, violations and return to duty information.
  • There are two types of queries:
    • Limited: Only lets you know if data is available for the requested driver.
      • An employer provided release is required for this query and the same release may be used for future limited queries, but must specify a time range. The release is not housed within the Clearinghouse.
      • Employers must run limited queries for existing employees on an annual basis.
      • If the limited query yields results, a full query must follow within 24 hours.
      • If the driver refuses to give consent, they cannot operate a CMV for the employer.
    • Full: Will provide all available data for the requested driver.
      • Full queries require the driver to give consent through the clearinghouse portal.
      • The driver must have an account through the portal to grant consent.
  • Employers must retain a record of each query and all information received in response to each query for 3 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What information does the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse contain?

A: Records of drug and alcohol violations including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. When a driver with a drug and alcohol program violation completes the required return-to-duty process, this information will also be recorded in the Clearinghouse.

Q: Will violations that occur before the Clearinghouse compliance date be included in the Clearinghouse?

A: No. The Clearinghouse will contain only violations that occurred on or after the Clearinghouse’s compliance date of January 6, 2020.

Q: What can drivers do in the Clearinghouse?

A: Drivers will be able to use the Clearinghouse for 3 functions:

  • Provide consent to release detailed violation information to a current or prospective employer.
    • This is the only valid method for responding to an employer’s full query consent request.
    • Failure to provide consent for a full query results in being prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, including operating a CMV, for that employer.
  • View their own individual record.
  • Identify and engage a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP),
    • Drivers must identify the SAP via the Clearinghouse to initiate the Return-To-Duty process.

Q: What should I do if the Clearinghouse website is down?

A: With the launch of the Clearinghouse, it has been causing some accessibility issues. The following notice is directly from the Clearinghouse website: If you are an employer currently experiencing technical difficulties accessing the Clearinghouse and are unable to conduct required pre-employed queries, you may hire a driver using solely the procedures set forth in 49 CFR 391.23(e). Once FMCSA has determined and announced that users are able to access the Clearinghouse, pre-employment queries must also be conducted as required by section 382.701(a).

To learn more, please visit the Clearinghouse site or the FMCSA Regulations page.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap