A few weeks ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) announced it is establishing the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse).
This new database will contain information pertaining to violations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) controlled substances (drug) and alcohol testing program for holders of commercial drivers licenses (CLDs).
The Clearinghouse rule requires FMCSA-regulated employers, Medical Review Officers (MROs), Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs), consortia/third party administrators (C/TPAs), and other service agents to report to the Clearinghouse information related to violations of the drug and alcohol regulations in 49 Code of Federal Regulations, parts 40 and 382 by current and prospective employees.
The Clearinghouse will also require the following:
- Employers will be required to query the Clearinghouse for current and prospective employees’ drug and alcohol violations before permitting those employees to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) on public roads.
- Employers will be required to annually query the Clearinghouse for each driver they currently employ.
- State driver licensing agencies will be required to query the Clearinghouse whenever a CDL is issued, renewed, transferred or upgraded.
The Clearinghouse will provide FMCSA and employers the necessary tools to identify drivers who are prohibited from operating a CMV based on DOT drug and alcohol program violations and ensure that such drivers receive the required evaluation and treatment before operating a CMV on public roads.
Specifically, information maintained in the Clearinghouse will enable employers to identify drivers who commit a drug or alcohol program violation while working for one employer, but who fail to subsequently inform another employer (as required by current regulations).
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.
In 2012, Congress directed the Secretary of Transportation to establish a national Clearinghouse containing CMV operators’ violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program in Section 32402 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). This rule implements that mandate and also responds to earlier recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board.
This information collection supports the DOT Strategic Goal of Safety by ensuring that drivers are qualified to operate trucks and buses on our nation’s highways.