WHAT IS THE FMCSA DRUG AND ALCOHOL CLEARINGHOUSE?
The FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is a secure online database that will give employers, the FMCSA, state driver licensing agencies, and state law enforcement personnel real-time information about drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP) who have violated 49 CFR Part 382, Subpart B. The Clearinghouse contains information about positive drug or alcohol test results, test refusals, and when a driver completes the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan.
WHO CAN USE THE CLEARINGHOUSE?
Employers, drivers, medical review officers (MROs), substance abuse professionals (SAPs), and consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs) must register with the Clearinghouse to access the Clearinghouse database. The general public will not have access to the Clearinghouse. Clearinghouse registration is now open.
WHEN IS USE OF THE CLEARINGHOUSE MANDATED?
Mandatory use of the Clearinghouse began on January 6, 2020. In addition to those users listed above, drivers are able to access their own Clearinghouse records at this time at no cost to them. Authorized users will be required to complete the actions described in the Clearinghouse final rule.
DO EMPLOYERS STILL NEED TO CONDUCT TRADITIONAL MANUAL INQUIRIES WITH PREVIOUS EMPLOYERS?
Yes. Employers will be required to conduct both electronic queries and traditional manual inquiries with previous employers to meet the three-year timeframe required by FMCSA’s drug and alcohol use testing program for checking CDL driver violation histories. Once three years of violation data is stored in the Clearinghouse, employers will no longer be required to request information from the driver’s previous FMCSA-regulated employers. An employer’s query of the Clearinghouse will satisfy that requirement.
WHEN MUST CURRENT AND PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYERS CONDUCT A QUERY OF A CDL DRIVER’S INFORMATION IN THE CLEARINGHOUSE?
An employer must conduct a pre-employment query for a prospective employee prior to hiring the employee for a position requiring him or her to perform safety-sensitive functions, such as operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The employer must also query the Clearinghouse annually for all currently employed CDL drivers.
CALL TO ACTION
- Complete the Clearinghouse registration process for your company
- Educate employees, drivers, and vendors on Clearinghouse requirements.
- Establish a company procedure for conducting full and limited queries of the Clearinghouse database.
Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.
This material is intended to be a broad overview of the subject matter and is provided for informational purposes only. Great West Casualty Company does not provide legal advice to its insureds or other parties, nor does it advise insureds or other parties on employment-related issues, therefore the subject matter is not intended to serve as legal or employment advice for any issue(s) that may arise in the operations of its insureds or other parties. Legal advice should always be sought from legal counsel. Great West Casualty Company shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, action, or inaction alleged to be caused directly or indirectly as a result of the information contained herein.Reprinted with permission from Great West Casualty Company.