Nearly two years after it’s announcement by the FMCSA, the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will become a reality. In December, the agency announced its final rule for establishing a database that will serve as a central repository containing records of violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program by CDL holders.
The rule became effective on January 4, 2017, with a compliance date of January 2020. The FMCSA plans to contract with a third party to operate and maintain the database.
The clearinghouse is intended to increase highway safety by ensuring flagged drivers complete a return-to-duty process before driving commercial vehicles in interstate or intrastate commerce. The annual net benefits of the drug and alcohol clearinghouse final rule are an estimated $42 million, with crash reductions resulting from annual and pre-employment queries by FMCSA-regulated motor carriers.
“An overwhelming majority of the nation’s freight travels by truck, and millions of passengers reach their destinations by bus, so creating a central, comprehensive, and searchable database of commercial motor vehicle drivers who violate federal drug and alcohol testing requirements has been a departmental priority,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. “This system will be a new technological tool that will make our roads safer.” Carriers will be required to upload drug test information to the clearinghouse database and query the system before hiring drivers. They will also need to query the database annually for current drivers and report all traffic citations for drivers convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The final rule requires that:
After registering with the clearinghouse, a driver can review his or her information at no cost. Motor carriers are prohibited from allowing employees to perform safety-sensitive functions, which include operating a CMV, if the employee tests positive on a DOT drug or alcohol test.
To view the full rule or additional information visit the FMCSA website.