What you need to know: A new regulation affecting clients who employ CDL drivers became effective January 6th, 2020. Employers are now required to report violations of the Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol testing program for their current drivers as well as query current and prospective drivers on an annual basis. The Clearinghouse contains records of drug and alcohol prohibition violations, including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. Employers will still need to complete the manual query until January 6, 2023 when only the electronic clearinghouse query will be required. Driver violation records will be available in the Clearinghouse for five years from the date of the violation determination, or until the violation is resolved through the successful completion of the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan, whichever is later.
Who does it affect: This affects all CDL drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles on public roads and their employers. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Interstate and intrastate motor carriers, including passenger carriers
- School bus drivers
- Construction equipment operators
- Limousine drivers
- Municipal vehicle drivers (e.g., waste management vehicles)
- Federal and other organizations that employ drivers subject to FMCSA drug and alcohol testing regulations (e.g., Department of Defense, municipalities, school districts)
Why it’s Important: This online database will help keep roads safer for all drivers by identifying, in real-time, drivers that are prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions due to a drug and alcohol program violation. These functions include operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
Types of Queries for employers to make:
Employers must conduct a limited or full query at least once every year for all drivers.
- Limited Queries: Limited queries check for the presence of information in the clearinghouse.
- Full Queries: An employer must conduct a pre-employment query in the Clearinghouse for a prospective driver, prior to hiring the driver for a position requiring him or her to perform safety-sensitive functions, such as operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). They must also conduct a full query if a limited query returns any results.
The Clearinghouse: A centralized location to query driver information and report drug and alcohol program violations incurred by current and prospective employees holding Commercial Driver’s License and Commercial Lerner’s Permit. The employer must use the Clearinghouse to:
- Conduct a full query as part of each pre-employment driver investigation process.
- Conduct limited queries at least annually for every driver they employ.
- Request electronic consent from the driver for a full query, including pre-employment queries.
- Report drug and alcohol program violations.
- Record the negative return-to-duty (RTD) test results and the date of successful completion of a follow-up testing plan for any driver they employ with unresolved drug and alcohol program violations.
Reporting Details: Employers must report the following information to the Clearinghouse:
- An alcohol confirmation test result with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater.
- A CDL driver’s refusal to submit to a Department of Transportation (DOT) test for drug or alcohol use.
- Actual knowledge, as defined in § 382.107.
- The negative RTD test results.
- The date the driver successfully completed all follow-up tests as ordered by the substance abuse professional (SAP).
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA)’s Clearinghouse website contains important resources. These resources includeuser brochures and guides with step-by-step registration instructions for all users. Users can visit Clearing House to access these resources and to start the registration process.
Register for Clearinghouse: https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/
Learning Center: https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/Learn
Employers Query Plans: https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/Query/Plan