The FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse: What Your Business Needs to Know

On the 6th of January 2020, the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse was created. To learn more about what the Clearinghouse is, how it works, and how it could affect your business, we’ve put together a guide to help:

What Is the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse?

Earlier this year, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) created the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. As a secure online database, it gives employers, the FMCSA, State law officials, and State Driver Licensing Agencies access to key information about commercial drivers. This includes details about a commercial driver’s license, as well as any drug or alcohol violations in the past. FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse was created after Congress directed the Secretary of Transportation to implement additional safety measures for businesses that work in the transportation of goods. 

Why is the Clearinghouse Important to Businesses?

The addition of the Clearinghouse will be important to businesses across several industries, as it will allow employers to identify any drivers that have committed an alcohol or a drug program violation while they were working for another employer or those who do not have a valid commercial driver’s license.

The main goal of the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is to improve highway safety and to make transportation as efficient as possible. By giving employers the necessary tools to identify the drivers that have violated the alcohol and drug testing program requirements, an employer will be able to ensure that the driver requires the right treatment and evaluation before operating on public roads. 

How Does the Clearinghouse Affect Companies and Employers? 

As mentioned, the new ruling will help employers when hiring new drivers as well as verifying information about their current staff. Giving employers key information as to which drivers complete these tests, along with drivers that refuse to be tested, makes hiring and retaining reliable staff far easier.

Within the Clearinghouse, an employer can also submit a query for additional information about either current or prospective employees regarding past violations to make more informed employment decisions.

Beyond simply being beneficial to hiring managers, however, the addition of the Clearinghouse also affects an employer’s legal obligations. Under the new ruling, an employer of CDL drivers (that operate within the US, Canada, and Mexico) is required to query the Clearinghouse for each driver on an annual basis to ensure that current employees continue to maintain regulation standards. This means that each business who employs CDL drivers must perform pre-employment screenings for each employee and manually query the Clearinghouse regarding the results. 

Once a business has carried out a pre-employment screening or screening of their current employees, they will have to report any violations and negative RTD (return-to-duty) test results along with the date that a successful follow-up testing plan was carried out. This is imperative as it showcases to the employer that the driver has taken the appropriate steps that are necessary to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.

These new regulations will have a significant impact on businesses across the US, but the Clearinghouse ultimately adds a valuable level of security for employers hiring new drivers. It is an important step towards more efficient and safe transportation, and its policies will prove to be beneficial for businesses across several industries. 

For more information, see our industry news on  the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and its regulations.