Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse query deadline nears

November 12, 2020

Mark Schremmer


The deadline for owner-operators operating under their own authority to run their first query with FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse is Jan. 5.

Owner-operators are required to conduct queries on themselves.

“Anyone who employs a commercial driver’s license holder must query the Clearinghouse,” the FMCSA website stated. This requirement includes owner-operators – that is, any employer who employs himself or herself as a CDL driver, typically a single-driver operation. Owner-operators must comply with all Clearinghouse requirements imposed on both employers and employees. An owner-operator’s designated consortium/third-party administrator may conduct queries on their behalf. However the (consortium/third-party administrator) is responsible for reporting drug and alcohol program violations to the Clearinghouse for the owner-operator.”

Those who don’t comply by the Jan. 5 deadline could be flagged for a violation and subject to a fine. Queries must be conducted annually. Amber Schweer, of OOIDA’s drug and alcohol consortium, CMCI, said that owner-operators will need to make sure they are registered and have that first query pulled by Jan. 5.

Leased-on owner-operators won’t need to run a query but will need to give their carrier permission to run the query on them.

The Clearinghouse is intended to be a secure online database allowing FMCSA, commercial motor vehicle employers, state driver licensing agencies, and law enforcement officials to quickly identify CDL holders who have violated federal drug and alcohol testing requirements. A December 2016 final rule to establish the clearinghouse was mandated by Congress in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.

The clearinghouse will contain records of violations of drug and alcohol prohibitions, including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. When a driver completes the return-of-duty process and follow-up testing plan, this information will also be recorded in the clearinghouse. LL

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.