Showing you results for: “return-to-duty”
The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that gives employers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (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.
The Clearinghouse contains 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 completes the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan, this information is also recorded in the Clearinghouse.
Yes. When a violation is entered, the Clearinghouse associates it with a driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) information. This will be recorded even if the driver has not registered for the Clearinghouse. When an employer queries a driver’s information in the Clearinghouse (with the appropriate consent), they will enter the driver’s CDL information to verify if any violations are associated with that driver’s CDL.
A driver is required to enter their CDL information during their Clearinghouse registration. This allows them to view any violation or return-to-duty (RTD) information associated with their CDL.
Yes. Once a driver has registered in the Clearinghouse, he or she will be able to access his or her Clearinghouse record electronically, at no cost. This record would include any drug and alcohol program violation information available in the Clearinghouse, along with the status of their return-to-duty (RTD) process, if applicable.
No. The only negative test result reported to the Clearinghouse is a negative return-to-duty (RTD) result, which is reported by the employer or consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) in accordance with §§ 382.705(b)(1)(ii) or (b)(6). If the employer receives a negative-dilute RTD result from the MRO, the employer or C/TPA would report it to the Clearinghouse as a negative RTD result.
SAPs must use the Clearinghouse to report specific information about a CDL driver’s return-to-duty (RTD) activities. This information includes the date of completion of the initial SAP assessment, and the date the SAP determines that the driver is eligible for RTD testing, per § 382.705(d).
As of March 8, 2023, an employer will be notified via email if a driver they have queried has new information (such as an updated return-to-duty status, a removed violation, or a new violation) recorded in their Clearinghouse record within 12 months of a pre-employment or annual query. The Query History will also be updated to reflect that new information is available. This change is permitted as a “routine use” of the driver’s information under the Privacy Act and is set forth in FMCSA’s System of Records Notice for the Clearinghouse, accessible at 2019-22915.pdf (govinfo.gov).
Note: Previously, email notifications about new driver information were sent to employers within 30 days of a conducting pre-employment queries only. This has been expanded as described above.
Driver violation records will be available in the Clearinghouse for five years from the date of the violation determination, or until the violation is resolved through the successful completion of the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan, whichever is later.
Per § 382.705(d), the SAP must report the following:
- Date of initial SAP assessment. This must be reported by the close of the business day following the assessment.
- Date the SAP determined the driver demonstrated successful compliance with education and treatment requirements and is eligible for return-to-duty (RTD) testing. This must be reported by the close of the business day following the determination.
No. The Clearinghouse contains only violations that occurred on or after January 6, 2020. If a driver’s violation occurred prior to January 6, 2020, and was in the return-to-duty (RTD) process when the Clearinghouse was implemented, the violation and any related RTD activity will not be entered into the Clearinghouse.
The Clearinghouse is a centralized database that employers use to report drug and alcohol program violations and to conduct queries, which check that current or prospective employees are not prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, such as operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), due to an unresolved drug and alcohol program violation—that is, a violation for which the driver has not completed the return-to-duty (RTD) process. Queries must be conducted as part of a pre-employment driver investigation, and at least annually for current employees.
In addition, employers may designate a C/TPA who can report violations and/or conduct queries on their behalf. An owner-operator—an employer that employs himself or herself as a CDL driver, typically a single-driver operation—must designate the C/TPA in the Clearinghouse.
To complete the actions outlined above, employers and C/TPAs are required to register in the Clearinghouse.
Yes. Employers who employ CDL holders to operate non-CDL vehicles (i.e., a commercial motor vehicle as defined in 49 CFR 390.5) may, but are not required to, conduct a pre-employment query in accordance with § 382.701(a) or an annual query in accordance with § 382.701(b). Doing so will allow the employer to determine whether the CDL holder had drug and alcohol program violations reported to the Clearinghouse when the driver was operating a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in § 382.107, while subject to the CDL requirements in 49 CFR part 383.
Employers who query the Clearinghouse for CDL holders operating non-CDL vehicles must comply with the applicable employee consent requirements set forth in § 382.703. If a query of the Clearinghouse reveals the CDL holder is prohibited from operating either a CMV or non-CDL CMV under § 382.501(c), the employer must not permit the driver to operate either type of CMV until completing the return-to-duty requirements set forth in 49 CFR part 40, subpart O, as required by § 382.503(a).
Yes. If a SAP made an error while entering a driver’s RTD information, the SAP, or the SAP’s Clearinghouse Assistants, can make changes to this information. Entries may be removed one at a time by deleting the most recent entry. See pages 5-6 of the How to Report RTD Information: SAPs job aid for instructions.
If an employer reports a violation to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) based on the employer’s actual knowledge that a CDL driver was issued a traffic citation for driving under the influence (DUI) in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), must the driver complete the return-to-duty (RTD) process before resuming safety-sensitive functions?
It depends on whether the driver is convicted of DUI in a CMV. Current regulations provide that, if an employer has reported an actual knowledge violation based on the issuance of a citation for DUI in a CMV, the driver is prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, including driving a CMV, until completing RTD requirements in accordance with 49 CFR part 40, subpart O (subpart O). (See §§ 382.503(a) and 382.605). Employers are prohibited from permitting a driver who has violated subpart B to perform safety-sensitive functions until the driver has complied with the RTD requirements in subpart O. (See §§ 383.503(a) and 382.217(e)).
However, on March 8, 2023, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a Notice of Enforcement Policy (NEP). The NEP states that FMCSA will not enforce the RTD requirements of §§ 382.503(a), 382.605, and 382.217(e) when drivers violate subpart B, based on their employer’s actual knowledge of the issuance of a citation for DUI in a CMV and the citation results in non-conviction.
The NEP also states that drivers who are convicted of DUI in a CMV must comply with the RTD requirements in accordance with subpart O.
What constitutes “non-conviction” for the purposes of the NEP? As used in the NEP, the term “non-conviction” means that the charge of DUI in a CMV is dismissed without the imposition of fines, court costs, or other punitive actions, or there is an unvacated adjudicated finding of not guilty. Terms that States may use to indicate a dismissal include Nolle Prosequi (Nolle Pros’d or Nolle Prossed), withdrawn, or discontinued. The term “non-conviction” does not include pleading guilty to a lesser charge (e.g., reckless driving).
May a CDL driver who received a traffic citation for DUI in a CMV resume performing safety-sensitive functions before non-conviction is established? No. Drivers who wish to resume safety-sensitive functions before non-conviction has been established (i.e., before the citation has been dismissed or the driver is adjudicated not guilty) must comply with the RTD requirements in subpart O. Prior to non-conviction, an employer may not permit the driver to perform safety-sensitive functions until complying with RTD requirements.
How will FMCSA know that a driver’s citation for DUI in a CMV resulted in non-conviction? To inform FMCSA of the non-conviction, drivers must submit acceptable documentary evidence of non-conviction following the procedures set forth in § 382.717(c).
If the citation for DUI in a CMV results in non-conviction, when may the driver resume safety-sensitive functions? Drivers may resume performing safety-sensitive functions when FMCSA accepts the documentary evidence and changes the driver’s operating status in the Clearinghouse from “Prohibited” to “Not Prohibited.” FMCSA will notify the driver that this information has been added to their record, as required by § 382.707(a), and the driver may then log in to their Clearinghouse account to verify the status change.
Note: If the driver is required to complete the return-to-duty process due to multiple drug and alcohol program violations, including the citation for DUI in a CMV, the driver will be required to complete the return-to-duty process to resolve the other violations before resuming safety-sensitive functions.
If a driver’s citation for DUI in a CMV results in non-conviction and FMCSA accepts documentary evidence of non-conviction and changes the driver’s operating status from “Prohibited” to “Not Prohibited,” must the employer comply with the Clearinghouse reporting requirements in 49 CFR 382.705(b)(1)(ii) and (v)? No. Under the NEP, FMCSA will not enforce the employer reporting requirements for RTD and follow-up testing in §§ 382.705(b)(1)(ii) and (v) when a driver’s citation for DUI in a CMV results in non-conviction and FMCSA changes the driver’s operating status from “Prohibited” to “Not Prohibited” based acceptable documentary evidence of non-conviction submitted by the driver.
Why is FMCSA changing its enforcement policy regarding actual knowledge violations based on the issuance of a citation for DUI in a CMV? The change will increase fairness to drivers while continuing to ensure CMV safety. Issuance of a citation for DUI in a CMV is a serious action, which raises legitimate safety concerns that justify a driver’s immediate removal from safety-sensitive functions. The driver nevertheless should not be required to complete RTD requirements, including directly observed follow-up testing, if the citation results in non-conviction.
Per § 382.705, the following individuals must report the following information:
- Employers, or consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs) acting on behalf of an employer, enter drug and alcohol program violation information into the Clearinghouse.
- Medical review officers (MROs) enter drug violation information. The driver does not need to be registered in the Clearinghouse for a violation to be added to their Clearinghouse record.
- Substance abuse professionals (SAPs) enter the date of initial SAP assessment and date the driver is eligible for RTD testing.
- Employers enter the negative RTD test result(s) and the date the driver’s follow-up testing plan has been successfully completed.
To have your Clearinghouse status change from “prohibited” to “not prohibited,” you must complete the return-to-duty (RTD) process, as established by 49 CFR part 40, subpart O. After you complete the RTD process and your Clearinghouse status is updated to “not prohibited,” your State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA) will allow you to reinstate your commercial driving privileges.
FMCSA has created a resource that outlines the steps drivers take to complete their RTD process: download the Return-to-Duty Quick Reference Guide. For more information about the RTD process, visit the Clearinghouse Learning Center.
Per § 382.705(b), employers must report the following information to the Clearinghouse:
- An alcohol confirmation test result with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater;
- A CDL driver’s refusal to submit to a Department of Transportation (DOT) test for drug or alcohol use;
- Actual knowledge, as defined in § 382.107;
- The negative RTD test results;
- The date the driver successfully completed all follow-up tests as ordered by the substance abuse professional (SAP).
If a CDL driver’s employer is aware that the driver received a traffic citation for driving a CMV while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, the employer must report this to the Clearinghouse as actual knowledge of prohibited use of drugs or alcohol. If the citation does not result in a conviction, may the driver petition to have this violation removed from their Clearinghouse record?
FMCSA is required by statute to include in the Clearinghouse records of violations of 49 CFR, part 382, subpart B. Accordingly, as required by 49 U.S.C. 31306a(g)(6), the actual knowledge violation based on issuance of the citation will remain in the driver’s Clearinghouse record even when the citation results in non-conviction, because the violation of subpart B occurred when the citation was issued. In accordance with the final rule published on October 7, 2021 (86 FR 55718), a report of actual knowledge of prohibited use of drugs or alcohol, based on the issuance of DUI in a CMV, will remain in the Clearinghouse for 5 years, or until the driver has completed the return-to-duty process, whichever is later, regardless of whether the driver is ultimately convicted of the DUI offense. Drivers who are not convicted of the offense may petition to submit documentary evidence of non-conviction to their Clearinghouse record; to learn more about this, view the new frequently asked questions.
On October 7, 2021, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule establishing requirements for SDLA’s access to and use of driver-specific drug and alcohol program violation information contained in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (86 FR 55718).
This final rule requires that:
- SDLAs must not issue, renew, upgrade, or transfer a commercial driver's license (CDL), or commercial learner's permit (CLP), as applicable, for any individual prohibited under FMCSA's regulations from performing safety-sensitive functions, including driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), due to one or more drug and alcohol program violations.
- SDLAs must, upon receipt of notification that a driver is prohibited from operating a CMV due to a drug and alcohol program violation, initiate the downgrade process to remove the CLP or CDL privilege from the driver's license within 60 days.
- Drivers completing the return-to-duty process before the downgrade process is completed would no longer be prohibited from operating a CMV and thus would no longer be subject to a downgrade.
SDLAs have until November 18, 2024 (compliance date) to comply with these requirements. In addition, FMCSA extends the compliance date for the requirement that SDLAs query the Clearinghouse prior to issuing, renewing, upgrading, or transferring a CDL from January 6, 2023 to November 18, 2024. SDLAs currently have the option to voluntarily query the Clearinghouse and may do so before the compliance date.
- View their own driver record electronically.
- Provide electronic consent to release detailed drug and alcohol program violation information to a current or prospective employer.
- Identify a substance abuse professional (SAP) so the SAP may enter specific information regarding the driver’s return-to-duty (RTD) activities.
To complete the actions outlined above, drivers must be registered in the Clearinghouse. Registered drivers will have their Clearinghouse accounts and contact preferences set up, allowing them to quickly respond to query requests from employers. Registration is available at https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/Register .
As established in the first Clearinghouse final rule (81 FR 87686), drivers with a “prohibited” Clearinghouse status are prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The second Clearinghouse final rule (Clearinghouse-II) further supports this by ensuring that drivers with a “prohibited” Clearinghouse status do not continue to hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP).
The Clearinghouse-II final rule (86 FR 55718) requires that, beginning November 18, 2024, State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) must remove the commercial driving privileges from the driver's license of an individual subject to the CMV driving prohibition. This would result in a downgrade of the license until the driver completes the return-to-duty (RTD) process.
This means that, beginning November 18, 2024, having a “prohibited” Clearinghouse status will result in losing or being denied a CDL or CLP.
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.
Yes, if the SAP meets the requirements under § 40.281.
The Clearinghouse offers employers a centralized location to query driver information and report drug and alcohol program violations incurred by their current and prospective employees holding CDLs and CLPs. The employer must use the Clearinghouse to:
- Conduct a full query of the Clearinghouse as part of each pre-employment driver investigation process.
- Conduct limited queries at least annually for every driver they employ.
- Request electronic consent from the driver for a full query, including pre-employment queries.
- Report drug and alcohol program violations.
- Record the negative return-to-duty (RTD) test results and the date of successful completion of a follow-up testing plan for any driver they employ with unresolved drug and alcohol program violations.