Drug and alcohol clearinghouse goes into effect Jan. 6

October 25, 2019

Mark Schremmer

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FMCSA’s Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse becomes operational on Jan. 6.

Until then, employers, CDL holders, medical review officers, and substance abuse professionals can register to create a secure online account at the clearinghouse website.

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 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.

Below are some of the frequently asked questions regarding the clearinghouse.

Q. Does every driver need to register for the clearinghouse?

No. Clearinghouse registration is not a required step for drivers. If a driver is never required to provide consent to a pre-employment or other full query and never incurs a drug and alcohol program violation, then the driver will not need to register.

However, a driver will need to be registered to provide electronic consent in the clearinghouse for a prospective or current employer to conduct a full query of his or her driving record. Beginning Jan. 6, a full query will be required during a pre-employment screening for a CDL holder. In addition, a driver must also be registered to view the information electronically in his or her own clearinghouse record. So drivers don’t necessarily have to register, but they may still want to do so.

Q. If a driver has a drug and alcohol program violation in one state, will the clearinghouse be able to connect that driver’s history when he or she applies in another state?

Yes. The clearinghouse will identify drivers who move frequently and obtain CDLs in different states and link those CDLs.

Q. How are employers required to use the clearinghouse?

Employers must conduct full queries of prospective employees and limited queries of all current employees at least once a year.

Owner-operators must conduct queries of all current employees, including the owner-operator.

For more answers to questions about the drug and alcohol clearinghouse, go here.

Registration, which is free, can be done here.

FMCSA also offers brochures for CDL holders, owner-operators and employers about what they need to do before and after Jan. 6.

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, associate 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 nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.