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.
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 up until the compliance date.
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.
An individual with an employer or consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) who can manage users on behalf of their company. Credentialed medical review officers (MROs) and substance abuse professionals (SAPs) are also considered Clearinghouse Administrators and can invite Clearinghouse Assistants.
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
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.
Query plans may be purchased only on the FMCSA Clearinghouse website by registered employers. A consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) may not purchase a plan on behalf of an employer. Download the How to Purchase a Query Plan instructional job aid
Yes. Employers, consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs), medical review officers (MROs), and substance abuse professionals (SAPs) need to register their company. The individual users are managed by a representative for each company who serves as a Clearinghouse administrator to manage the company’s account.
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).
Should violations that occurred before the Clearinghouse Implementation Date be reported to the Clearinghouse?
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.
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:
- Employers with Portal accounts
- Employers without Portal accounts
- CDL drivers
- Consortia/third-party administrators
- Medical review officers
- Substance abuse professionals
Employers, C/TPAs, MROs, and SAPs can also invite users to complete required actions in the Clearinghouse on their behalf. These users would register as Clearinghouse Assistants.
How are employers and consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs) required to use 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.
Is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) subject to the obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for 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.
Employers are charged a fee to conduct limited and full queries within the Clearinghouse. There are no fees for registration or other Clearinghouse activities.
Employers can purchase a query plan that fits their business needs. Learn more about the query plans.
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)
Will any information from the Clearinghouse appear in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Driver Register?
No. Information from the Clearinghouse will not be shared with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Driver Register.
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 addition to the SDLA requirements, does the October 2021 final rule have other impacts on the States?
The October 2021 final rule (86 FR 55718) amends 49 CFR part 392 by prohibiting CLP or CDL holders from operating a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in 49 CFR 390.5T, if they are subject to the CMV driving prohibition in 49 CFR 382.501(a). No later than November 18, 2024, States receiving Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) grant funds must adopt and enforce a CMV driving prohibition, comparable to 49 CFR 392.15, for CLP and CDL holders who are barred from operating a CMV due to a drug and alcohol program violation.
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.
How does the Clearinghouse impact employers of commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders?
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.
Employers and C/TPAs can assign Assistants to conduct queries and report drug and alcohol program violation information on their behalf. MROs and SAPs can assign Assistants to enter information in the Clearinghouse on their behalf.