FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Update
Posted by Cliff J. on April 17, 2017 in Trucker Focus

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:

  • Motor carriers, medical review officers, third-party administrators, and substance abuse professionals report information about drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol, refuse drug and alcohol testing, or undergo the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process.
  • Motor carriers annually search the clearinghouse for current employees, and during the pre-employment process for prospective employees, to determine whether a driver violated drug or alcohol testing requirements with a different employer that would prohibit them from operating a CMV.
  • Employers conduct pre-employment drug testing and random drug and alcohol testing.
  • A driver must grant consent before an employer can request access to a clearinghouse record and before FMCSA can release a driver’s clearinghouse record to an employer.


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.

Cliff J. is our Trucking guru
I bring over 30 years of trucking industry experience to Acuity. I worked my way up from driving to managing the safety operations of a transportation company, culminating in owning and managing my own regional trucking company. My main goal at Acuity is to help you, the motor carrier, the owner/operator and the driver better understand the insurance industry and help shape Acuity’s products and services to better meet your needs. I regularly provide ongoing trucking training to Acuity employees to help them understand the unique needs of those in the trucking/transportation industry. With over 30 years in the transportation sector, as both a company driver and as owner and manager of a trucking company, I have first-hand experience that helps me understand the challenges truckers’ face, and detailed knowledge of transportation regulations. My experience coupled with a background in insurance loss control can help answer and provide solutions to any issues that may arise.

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