Be ready for the FMCSA Clearinghouse
Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
The FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse is scheduled for launch on January 6, 2020 and Mobile Occupational Services, Inc. is ready! We have been keeping in close contact with all resources to keep everyone informed of this great new tool for tracking past drug and alcohol violations of FMCSA covered employees.
What is the Clearinghouse?
The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that will give employers real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders’ drug and alcohol program violations.
The Clearinghouse 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 (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan, this information will also be recorded in the Clearinghouse.
Does this affect me?
The clearinghouse is a required process for all CDL drivers who operate CMVs on public roads and their employers and service agents. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Interstate and intrastate motor carriers, including passenger carriers
- School bus drivers
- Construction equipment operators
- Limousine drivers
- Municipal vehicle drivers (e.g., waste management vehicles)
- Federal and other organizations that employ drivers subject to FMCSA drug and alcohol testing regulations (e.g., Department of Defense, municipalities, school districts)
What do I need to do?
All employers and owner operators will be required to register. There will also be a section to link Mobile Occupational Services as your consortia/third-party administrator. This will provide proof of enrollment in a random program.
Do my drivers need to register?
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 for the Clearinghouse.
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 driver record. A full query releases detailed violation information contained in a driver’s Clearinghouse record to the querying employer.
Beginning January 6, 2020, a full query will be required during a pre-employment driver investigation for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder who will perform safety-sensitive functions, including operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Early registration will allow drivers to respond quickly to a query request. A driver must also be registered to view the information electronically in his or her own Clearinghouse record.
Key points to note:
- If a driver had a drug and alcohol violation in one state it will follow them to all other states.
- As of January 6, 2020, State Driver Licensing Agencies will be able to query the Clearinghouse prior to completing licensing transactions, such as the issuance, renewal, transfer, and upgrade of a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
- Once the Clearinghouse is implemented will still need to conduct 3 year drug and alcohol searches. On January 6, 2023, once three years of violation data is stored in the Clearinghouse, prospective employers will no longer be required to conduct manual inquiries with a CDL driver’s previous employers; the prospective employer’s query of the Clearinghouse will satisfy that requirement. However, if a prospective employee was subject to drug and alcohol testing by a Department of Transportation (DOT) mode other than the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), prospective employers must continue to request drug and alcohol violation information from those DOT-regulated employers, since that information will not be reported to the Clearinghouse.
- The Clearinghouse will contain only violations that occurred on or after January 6, 2020. If a driver’s violation occurred prior to January 6, 2020, and is in the return-to-duty (RTD) process when the Clearinghouse is implemented, the violation and any related RTD activity will not be entered into the Clearinghouse.
- Driver violation records will be available in the Clearinghouse for five years from the date of the violation determination, or until the violation is resolved through the successful completion of the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan, whichever is later.
- An employer must conduct a pre-employment query for a prospective employee in the Clearinghouse 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.
- Employees must be queried at least once within a 365-day period based on their hire date, or another 12-month period determined by the employer, as long as the requirements of § 382.701(b) are met. PLEASE NOTE: This will be part of the services we will provide for you.
- Employers may designate a C/TPA or C/TPAs to conduct queries and/or report violations on their behalf. The C/TPA must be registered in the Clearinghouse before an employer can select the C/TPA, and C/TPAs must be designated by the employer before reporting drug and alcohol program violations or querying the Clearinghouse on their behalf.
- An owner-operator (an employer that employs himself or herself as a commercial driver’s license (CDL) driver) must designate their C/TPA(s) as part of their Clearinghouse registration process.
- An owner-operator (an employer who employs himself or herself as a CDL driver) is subject to the requirements pertaining to employers as well as those pertaining to drivers. Under the Clearinghouse final rule, an employer who employs himself or herself as a CDL driver must designate a consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) to comply with the employer’s Clearinghouse reporting requirements (§ 382.705(b)(6)).
- Anyone who employs a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder must query the Clearinghouse (§ 382.701). This requirement includes owner-operators, who must comply with all Clearinghouse requirements imposed on both employers and employees. An owner-operator’s designated consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) may conduct queries on their behalf. However, the C/TPA is responsible for reporting drug and alcohol program violations to the Clearinghouse for the owner-operator.