On January 4, 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established a Clearinghouse final rule which requires mandatory use of the Clearinghouse for employers to report and collect information about driver drug and alcohol violations.
This rule establishes requirements for the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which is an electronic database used for FMCSA regulated employers’ and individuals that will contain information regarding violations outlined in 49CFR part 382.
The FMCSA Clearinghouse database will contain information relating to any and all violations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) controlled substances drug and alcohol testing program. We recommend that you visit the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse website to stay up to date on news/updates to help you prepare for compliance with the requirements of the Clearinghouse which take effect January 6, 2020.
What is the FMCSA Clearinghouse?
The FMCSA Clearinghouse will contain records of drug and alcohol violation per the FMCSA regulations, including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. This will allow employers to identify drivers who are not legally permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles due to drug and alcohol program violations. Records of drug and alcohol program violations will remain in the Clearinghouse for five years, or until the driver has completed the return-to-duty process, whichever is later. The database will provide real-time access and updates so that employers can make smarter decisions.
When does the FMCSA Clearinghouse go into effect?
January 5, 2020. Registration will begin this fall, which will allow users to create an account to access the Clearinghouse.
For the first three years, or until January 6, 2023, in addition to procuring the new FMCSA clearinghouse report, employers will be required to continue processing the manual verification requests with all former employers (in the previous three years) as they onboard new commercial drivers. Since the onboarding process will require two different types of queries, employers can anticipate an increase in the cost of hiring a new driver. After January 6, 2023, employers will only be required to use the Clearinghouse for identifying drivers with drug and alcohol program violations. It’s important for employers to keep a close eye on the requirements and projected dates as information is subject to change from the original projections and requirements made by the FMCSA.
Who is required to follow FMCSA Clearinghouse rules?
Both employers of drivers and drivers themselves are required to follow FMCSA guidelines. Employers are required to report drug and alcohol violations and can check to see if current or prospective employees are prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, such as operating a CMV.
CDL drivers can view their own record, provide consent to current or prospective employers to access details about any drug and alcohol program violations, and select a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) if needed. An employer who employs himself/herself as a driver must comply with FMCSA drug and alcohol requirements that apply to both employers and drivers.
The following individuals will also be impacted:
- Medical Review Officers (MRO): must report verified positive drug test results and test refusals
- Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP): must report their initial return-to-duty assessment and eligibility status for return-to-duty testing
- Consortium or Third-Party Administrators: must, on behalf of an employer, report drug and alcohol program violations and perform driver queries as required
- State Driver Licensing Agencies: required to query the Clearinghouse prior to completing licensing transactions
If you need assistance with your company’s drug testing policy, contact Tomo Drug Testing for help. Based in Springfield (MO), St. Louis (MO), Kansas City (MO), Indianapolis (IN), and Tulsa (OK), we offer customized solutions to make drug testing simple, and our nationwide network of clinics and providers allows Tomo Drug Testing to be available anytime, anywhere. For a free needs analysis, give us a call today at 1-888-379-7697 or contact us online. We would be happy to help!