What Every Truck Driver Needs To Know About Upcoming Drug And Alcohol Rule Changes

Washington, D.C. – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is coming soon, and now the agency is helping drivers and employers get answers to the most frequently asked questions.

On January 6, 2020, mandatory use of the Clearinghouse to report and seek information about driver drug and alcohol program violations goes into effect. Employers will be required to conduct both electronic searches within the Clearinghouse and manual inquiries with previous employers to cover the preceding three years.

What Do CDL Drivers Need To Know?

Truckers, understandably, have quite a few questions about how the upcoming clearinghouse will change drug and alcohol testing and reporting rules. FMCSA is providing answers to the most frequently asked questions.


What Information Will The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse 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 with a drug and alcohol program violation completes the required Return-To-Duty (RTD) process, this information will also be recorded in the Clearinghouse.

Who Is Authorized To Use The Clearinghouse?

To access the Clearinghouse once it is operational, a user will be required to request access from FMCSA by registering for the Clearinghouse. Authorized users will include:

  • CDL/CLP Drivers
  • Employers (this includes motor carriers and other employers with drivers operating CMVs that require a CDL or CLP)
  • Consortium/Third-Party Administrators (C/TPAs)
  • Medical Review Officers (MROs)
  • Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs)
  • State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs)
  • Federal and State Enforcement personnel

Will A Prospective Employee’s Drug and Alcohol Violation History With DOT Modes Other Than FMCSA Be Available In The Clearinghouse?

No. The Clearinghouse will contain only drug and alcohol program violation information for employees subject to the testing requirements under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations in 49 CFR part 382. Employers must continue to request information from previous employers if the employee was subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing required by a DOT modal administration other than FMCSA (as required by § 391.23(e)(4)(B)).

May Employers Report The Results of Non-DOT Drug or Alcohol Tests To The Clearinghouse?

No. Only results of DOT drug or alcohol tests or refusals may be reported to the Clearinghouse. While employers may conduct drug and alcohol testing that is outside the scope of the DOT testing requirements, positive test results or refusals for such non-DOT testing may not be reported to the Clearinghouse.


What Actions Will Drivers Be Able To Take In The Clearinghouse?

Drivers will need to log into the Clearinghouse in order to electronically consent to requests from prospective and current employers needing to access full details about any drug and alcohol program violations in a driver’s history, as part of employment-related background checks.

This is the only valid method for responding to this type of employer consent request, and failure to provide timely consent may result in a driver being prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions for that employer.

Drivers can log in at any time to view their individual driver record.

If choosing to engage a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), a driver must select the SAP through the Clearinghouse to initiate the Return-To-Duty (RTD) process.

To complete the actions outlined above, drivers will be required to register with the Clearinghouse. Sign up to receive an email notification once registration opens this fall.

How Will Driver Data Be Protected?

The Clearinghouse will meet all relevant Federal security standards and FMCSA will verify the effectiveness of the security protections on a regular basis.

Driver information will not be available to the public; only authorized users will be able to register and access the Clearinghouse for designated purposes. The Clearinghouse will require authentication (username/password) to access records.

Drivers registered in the Clearinghouse will be able to access their Clearinghouse records at any time, and at no cost to them. Drivers will only be able to access their own information, not information about other drivers.

FMCSA will only share detailed drug and alcohol violation information with prospective or current employers when an employer has requested and received specific consent from the driver. Drivers will be able to see the information that would be released to an employer before consenting to the release.

Driver information will only be shared with FMCSA and other enforcement agencies as required to enforce drug and alcohol use testing regulations.


Does The Final Rule Change Any of the Existing DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Requirements?

No, this rule does not change any existing requirements in the US DOT-wide procedures for transportation workplace drug and alcohol testing.

For more information, download FMCSA’s guide to the upcoming CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse HERE.

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