FMCSA-Regulated Employers Readying for CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

FMCSA Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

In October of 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – an administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) – opened registration for the Congressionally-mandated FMCSA Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse that will be operational on January 6, 2020. 

“As this Congressional mandate is enacted, FMCSA’s goal is to ensure drivers, employers, and everyone who will be using the Clearinghouse are registered as efficiently and effectively as possible.  FMCSA is here to be helpful during this implementation, and we strongly encourage all CMV stakeholders to get registered in the Clearinghouse now,” FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez stated in a story from the FMCSA newsroom.

Commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders, employers, medical review officers, and substance abuse professionals can visit the FMCSA Clearinghouse and register at no cost to create a secure online user account. Registration is required by authorized users to be able to access the FMCSA Clearinghouse once it is fully implemented on January 6, 2020.  These authorized users include:

  • Drivers who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP).
  • Employers of CDL drivers. This includes those who employ themselves as CDL drivers (owner-operators), typically a single-driver operation.
  • Consortia/Third-Party Administrators (C/TPAs).
  • Medical Review Officers (MROs).
  • Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs).

Commercial drivers are not required to immediately register for the FMCSA Clearinghouse but will need to register to respond to an employer’s request for consent prior to a pre-employment query or other full query being conducted. FMCSA’s clearinghouse website contains important resources, including user brochures and instructional aids with step-by-step registration instructions for all users. 

The Clearinghouse will be a secure online database that will allow FMCSA, CMV employers, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and law enforcement officials to identify – in real-time – CDL drivers who have violated federal drug and alcohol testing program requirements. To access these resources and to start the registration process, authorized users should visit https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov.

On July 6, 2012, President Barak Obama signed into law the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21)” passed by Congress that included important provisions intended to help the FMCSA in its important mission to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses by removing the highest risk drivers, vehicles, and carriers from roads and prevent them from operating.

Starting on January 6, 2020, employers with employees covered by DOT/FMCSA regulations must report certain drug and alcohol program violations and can conduct electronic queries in the Clearinghouse. Effective January 6, 2023, employers must query only the FMCSA Clearinghouse to satisfy the employer requirement to identify prospective drivers who have committed drug and alcohol program violations.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – offers a fully integrated and electronic solution for drug testing programs with access to more than 10,000 collection facilities and clinics in the United States to help employees covered by DOT/FMCSA regulations maintain safe workplaces. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Drug-Testing/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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