What is the FMCSA Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse?
The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that gives employers, FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs), and State law enforcement personnel real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders’ drug and alcohol program violations. An act of Congress directed the Secretary of Transportation to establish the Clearinghouse.
The Clearinghouse enables employers to identify drivers who commit a drug and alcohol program violation while working for one employer, but who fail to subsequently inform another employer, as required.
Improving Highway Safety
The Clearinghouse provides FMCSA, SDLAs, and employers the necessary tools to identify drivers who are prohibited from operating a CMV based on U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol program violations, and ensure that such drivers receive the required evaluation and treatment before operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) on public roads.
The First Clearinghouse Rule
The first Clearinghouse final rule requires FMCSA-regulated employers, medical review officers (MROs), substance abuse professionals (SAPs), and consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs) 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 first Clearinghouse rule also requires the following:
- Employers are required to query the Clearinghouse for current and prospective employees' drug and alcohol violations before permitting those employees to operate a CMV on public roads.
- Employers are required to annually query the Clearinghouse for each driver they currently employ.
The Second Clearinghouse Rule (CDL Downgrades)
The second Clearinghouse final rule (Clearinghouse-II) supports FMCSA’s goal of ensuring that only qualified drivers are eligible to obtain and retain a CDL. Beginning November 18, 2024, SDLAs will be required to remove the commercial driving privileges of drivers in a “prohibited” status in the Clearinghouse, which would result in a downgrade of the CDL until the driver completes the return-to-duty (RTD) process.
Clearinghouse-II also requires the following:
- SDLAs must also query the Clearinghouse before issuing, renewing, upgrading, or transferring CDLs and issuing, renewing, and upgrading CLPs.
- SDLAs must review a driver’s information when notified by FMCSA of a driver’s Clearinghouse status change.
Note: SDLAs with legislative authority currently have the option to voluntarily query the Clearinghouse and downgrade CDLs for prohibited drivers and may do so before the November 18, 2024 compliance date.
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