The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created a Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse which will contain records of violations of drug and alcohol prohibitions in 49 CFR Part 382, Subpart B, including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. When a driver completes the return-to-duty process and follow-up testing plan, this information will also be recorded in the Clearinghouse. The database will give employers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs), and State law enforcement personnel real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders’ drug and alcohol program violations. The Clearinghouse will identify drivers who move frequently and obtain CDLs in different States and link those CDLs, in order to maintain complete and accurate information on such drivers.
As of January 6, 2020, companies employing drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP) are required to query the Drug & Alcohol clearinghouse as part of a pre-employment driver screening followed by annual screening of their CDL drivers. This applies to all employers of CDL drivers operating in the United States including Mexican and Canadian businesses.
Consumer Reporting Agencies providing pre-employment background screening to employers of CDL drivers can perform your clearinghouse queries on your behalf when you assign them as your third party designated agent (TPA). This will provide a smooth pre-employment screening process as the clearinghouse query will be in addition to your current manual inquiries with previous employers to meet the three-year timeframe for pre-employment driver investigations as required per § 391.23(e). On January 6, 2023, when the clearinghouse will contain three years of data, the manual quires of previous employers will cease.
An owner-operator is an employer that employs himself or herself as a CDL driver and must designate a TPA in the Clearinghouse.
In addition to querying the clearinghouse, employers of CDL drivers will be required to report drug and alcohol program violations as well as 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. Contact your TPA to manage this reporting process for you also.