The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that will give 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 will 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 completes the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan, this information will also be recorded in the Clearinghouse.
SDLAs will be able to query the Clearinghouse prior to completing licensing transactions, such as the issuance, renewal, transfer, and upgrade of a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
In a recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposes to extend the compliance date for the requirement established by the Clearinghouse final rule that States query the Clearinghouse before completing certain CDL transactions. The SDLAs’ mandatory compliance with this requirement, currently due to begin on January 6, 2020, would be delayed until January 6, 2023.
The NPRM proposal would, however, allow SDLAs the option to voluntarily query the Clearinghouse beginning on January 6, 2020.
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 ad alcohol program violation information available in the Clearinghouse, along with the status of their return-to-duty (RTD) process, if applicable.
Authorized users include:
- CDL drivers
- Employers – this includes motor carriers and other employers of drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP)
- Consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs)
- Medical review officers (MROs)
- Substance abuse professionals (SAPs)
- Enforcement personnel
SAPs will 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).
Employers, drivers, medical review officers (MROs), substance abuse professionals (SAPs), and consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs) must register in the Clearinghouse to access the Clearinghouse.
Instructional job aids are available for:
- CDL drivers
- Consortia/third-party administrators
- Medical review officers
- Substance abuse professionals
Employers, C/TPAs, MROs, and SAPs can also invite users to completed required actions in the Clearinghouse in their behalf. These users would register as Clearinghouse Assistants.
The Clearinghouse is a centralized database that employers will use to report drug and alcohol program violations and to 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. This query 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.
An owner-operator (an employer who employs himself or herself as a CDL driver, typically a single-driver operation) is subject to the requirements pertaining to employers as well as those pertaining to drivers. Under the Clearinghouse final rule, an employer who employs himself or herself as a CDL driver must designate a consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) to comply with the employer’s Clearinghouse reporting requirements (§ 382.705(b)(6)).
In a recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), FMCSA proposes to extend the compliance date for the requirement established by the Clearinghouse final rule that SDLAs query the Clearinghouse before completing certain commercial driver’s license (CDL) transactions.
The SDLAs mandatory compliance with this requirement, currently due to begin on January 6, 2020, would be delayed until January 6, 2023.
The new NPRM proposal would, however, allow SDLAs the option to voluntarily request Clearinghouse information beginning on January 6, 2020.
No, the final rule does not change any existing requirements in the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-wide procedures for transportation workplace drug and alcohol testing.
Yes. Employers, consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs), medical review officers (MROs), and substance abuse professionals (SAPs) will need to register their company. The individual users will be managed by a representative for each company who will serve as a Clearinghouse administrator to manage the company’s account.
No. The Clearinghouse will contain only violations that occurred on or after January 6, 2020. If a driver’s violation occurred prior to January 6, 2020, and is in the return-to-duty (RTD) process when the Clearinghouse is implemented, the violation and any related RTD activity will not be entered into the Clearinghouse.
Yes. The Clearinghouse is subject to certain provisions of the FCRA. However, the Agency does not fall within FCRA’s definition of “consumer reporting agency.” Therefore, provisions of the FCRA that impose obligations on “consumer reporting agencies” do not apply to the Agency’s administration of the Clearinghouse regulations. If an employer or consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) is subject to the FCRA, they should comply with their individual requirements.
Employers should consult with their own experts for more information on how to comply with FCRA.
No. Information from the Clearinghouse will not be shared with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Driver Register.
The Clearinghouse will offer 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.
All CDL drivers who operate CMVs on public roads and their employers and service agents. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Interstate and intrastate motor carriers, including passenger carriers
- School bus drivers
- Construction equipment operators
- Limousine drivers
- Municipal vehicle drivers (e.g., waste management vehicles)
- Federal and other organizations that employ drivers subject to FMCSA drug and alcohol testing regulations (e.g., Department of Defense, municipalities, school districts)