Once you have successfully submitted your bulk upload file, the number of queries in your file will be deducted from your query balance. Within a few minutes, the queries contained in your file will begin appearing in your Query History page. They will be labeled “Query Submitted: Via Bulk Upload.”
You can track these queries by their query status. The possible query statuses include the following:
|Awaiting Processing||The query process will be initiated during the next nightly batch.|
|Processing||The query is being processed.|
|Specific consent required||You must manually send a consent request for a full query to the driver. This occurs when a bulk upload file lists query type 1 (limited query) and the limited query determines there is information in the driver's record.|
|Pending driver consent||A consent request for the full query has automatically been sent to the driver. This occurs when the bulk upload file lists query type 2 (full query), 3 (pre-employment query), or 4 (limited query with automatic consent request) and the limited query determines there is information in the driver's record.|
|Completed||The query has been completed and the results are available. This may be because a limited query returned a result of "Driver Not Prohibited," or because the full query was completed (with the driver's consent).|
|Driver Not Found||The CDL information in the file could not be verified. The employers query plan is credited.|
Users who are registered as Clearinghouse Administrators may invite additional users to serve in an Assistant role, enabling them to use the Clearinghouse on their company’s behalf.
Employers that require a USDOT Number manage these Clearinghouse Administrator and Assistant roles via the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Portal. (Are you a motor carrier without a Portal account? If so, you can register for one now. Make sure all users at your company create their own Portal account with the proper Clearinghouse user role.) Other Clearinghouse Administrators may invite and manage assistants once they are registered in the Clearinghouse.
Under 49 CFR § 382.103(d)(1), the requirements of 49 CFR Part 382 do not apply to employers and their drivers “required to comply with the alcohol and/or controlled substances testing requirements of part 655 (Federal Transit Administration (FTA) alcohol and controlled substances testing regulations).” Does this mean that FTA-regulated employers and drivers are exempt from the Clearinghouse requirements?
It depends. Drivers who perform only FTA-regulated safety-sensitive functions are exempt from Part 382, including the Clearinghouse requirements, as are their employers. These drivers and employers are subject only to the alcohol and/or controlled substances testing requirements of Part 655. On the other hand, FTA-regulated entities that employ drivers who also perform FMCSA-regulated safety-sensitive functions must comply with the relevant alcohol and/or controlled substances testing requirements of Part 382. The following examples illustrate how employers subject to Part 655 also could be subject to Part 382.
Example #1: A driver operates a bus under the authority of the FTA during the week, but sometimes operates a charter bus, for the same employer, on the weekend. The charter operation is regulated by FMCSA, not FTA. If the driver is involved in a crash during the charter operation and is subject to post-accident testing, that testing is conducted under the authority of FMCSA (§ 382.303) and the results must be reported to the Clearinghouse. The same would be true for any testing conducted under the authority of FMCSA (e.g., random testing for drivers in an FMCSA random pool (§ 382.305)). This result is the same for any employer regulated by more than one Department of Transportation (DOT) mode; the modal authority under which the testing is conducted determines which modal regulations apply.
Example #2: A driver regularly operates a bus under the authority of the FTA, but sometimes operates a truck, for which a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required, for the same employer. In situations like this, the dual FTA/FMCSA regulated employer must conduct a pre-employment query for any driver expected to perform any FMCSA-regulated safety-sensitive functions in the course of their employment, and conduct an annual query for all drivers who have performed any FMCSA-regulated function within the last year.
Yes, a sample limited consent form is available. FMCSA does not require that motor carrier employers subject to the Agency’s drug and alcohol use and testing regulations in 49 CFR Part 382 use this sample format to obtain an employee’s consent to conduct a limited query of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Employers may, however, use or adapt the content as they see fit.
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.
An employer or service agent who knowingly submits false information to the Clearinghouse may be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties.
Employers and consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs) are required to provide specific documentation to support the reporting of actual knowledge or a refusal to test (§§ 382.705(b)(3) and (4)). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will remove information from the driver’s Clearinghouse record that is determined to be false.
Commercial driver staffing agencies may employ CMV drivers who hold CDLs and are subject to FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing requirements in Part 382. The staffing agency supplies these drivers to motor carriers, generally on a short-term basis, to operate CMVs requiring a CDL. Are driver staffing agencies required to register in the Clearinghouse?
Whether, and how, a driver staffing agency would register in the Clearinghouse depends on whether the agency functions as an employer, a consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA), or as both, depending on the services rendered.
The staffing agency should register in the Clearinghouse as an employer if: (1) the staffing agency maintains its own DOT drug and alcohol testing program; and (2) is responsible for ensuring compliance with FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing requirements for the drivers it employs who are subject to those requirements.
The staffing agency may register in the Clearinghouse as a C/TPA if the motor carrier is responsible for drug and alcohol program compliance, including fulfilling the employer’s querying and reporting requirements, but designates the staffing agency to perform these functions on the carrier’s behalf, as permitted by § 382.711(b).
If the staffing agency will perform both functions, it should create two separate Clearinghouse accounts; one as an employer and one as a C/TPA, using a different email address for each account.
No. Only employers who employ drivers subject to the licensing requirements in 49 CFR Part 383 and the drug and alcohol testing requirements in 49 CFR Part 382 are required to query or report information in the Clearinghouse. However, employers of drivers not holding a CDL or CLP must still comply with the driver investigation requirements of § 391.23(e), which includes drug and alcohol violation history.
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.
No. Only results of DOT drug or alcohol tests or refusals may be reported to the Clearinghouse. While employers may conduct drug and alcohol testing that is outside the scope of the DOT testing requirements, positive test results or refusals for non-DOT testing may not be reported to the Clearinghouse.
Yes. The Clearinghouse will identify drivers who move frequently and obtain CDLs in different States and link those CDLs, in order to maintain complete and accurate information on such drivers.
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.
A limited query allows an employer to determine if an individual driver’s Clearinghouse record has any information about resolved or unresolved drug and alcohol program violations, but does not release any specific violation information contained in the driver’s Clearinghouse record. Limited queries require only a general driver consent, which is obtained outside the Clearinghouse; this general consent is not required on an annual basis, it may be effective for more than one year. However, the limited consent request must specify the timeframe the driver is providing consent for.
A full query allows the employer to see detailed information about any drug and alcohol program violations in a driver’s Clearinghouse record. An employer must obtain the driver’s electronic consent in the Clearinghouse prior to the release of detailed violation information during the full query.
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.
Employers who have actual knowledge that a driver has used alcohol or controlled substances in violation of Subpart B of Part 382 must report such violations to the Clearinghouse, in accordance with § 382.705(b)(4). Service agents, such as a consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA), acting on the employer’s behalf may also report actual knowledge violations, as long as they comply with the reporting requirements in § 382.705(b)(4). Actual knowledge, as defined in § 382.107, is based on the employer’s direct observation of the employee, information provided by the driver’s previous employer(s), a traffic citation for driving a CMV while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, or an employee’s admission of alcohol or controlled substances use, except as provided in § 382.121.
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.
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
The requirement to downgrade commercial driver’s license (CDLs) of drivers in a “prohibited” Clearinghouse status rests on the safety-critical premise that drivers who cannot lawfully operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) because they engaged in prohibited use of drugs or alcohol or refused a drug or alcohol test should not hold a valid CDL or commercial learner’s permit (CLP). The Clearinghouse-II final rule (86 FR 55718) supports FMCSA’s goal of ensuring that only qualified drivers are eligible to receive and retain a CDL, thereby reducing the number and severity of CMV crashes.
Yes. There are two processes for correcting or removing information, depending on the nature of the requested correction or removal. Under 49 CFR 382.717, drivers may (i) request that FMCSA correct administrative errors (e.g., errors in data entry or the removal of a duplicate report from a driver’s Clearinghouse record); (ii) request that FMCSA add documentary evidence of a non-conviction to an employer's report of actual knowledge that the driver received a traffic citation for DUI while driving a commercial motor vehicle if the citation did not result in a conviction; and (iii) request that FMCSA remove from the Clearinghouse a report that a driver failed to appear for a test or that the employer has actual knowledge that the driver has used alcohol or controlled substances if the violation report fails to comply with the reporting requirements in § 382.705(b)(3) and (5). Drivers may not challenge the accuracy or validity of test results, test refusals, or other violations under § 382.717 but may submit a request for correction under the Privacy Act, as described below. See the Submitting a Petition for Data Review job aid to learn how to submit a request for correction under § 382.717.
Drivers wishing to request correction of a test refusal, test result, or other violation information in their Clearinghouse record may do so in accordance with the Privacy Act procedures set forth in 49 CFR Part 10, Subpart E and F. See Requests for Record Correction Under the Privacy Act job aid to learn how to submit a Privacy Act request for correction.
Yes. The final rule provides a petition process for drivers to request corrections to their Clearinghouse record (§ 382.717). Drivers may challenge only the accuracy of information reported, not the accuracy or validity of test results or refusals.
Employers may conduct a limited query, which requires consent outside of the Clearinghouse. If the limited query returns that records were found in the Clearinghouse for the queried driver, the employer must receive electronic consent for a full query from the driver in the Clearinghouse before detailed information may be released to the querying employer. The employer may also conduct a full query at any time, provided the employer has obtained the required electronic consent for the release of detailed violation information for the queried driver.
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).
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.
Yes. The Clearinghouse is a Federal system of records subject to the Privacy Act. For example, the Agency will verify the driver’s consent for the release of certain information prior to allowing an employer to access the driver’s Clearinghouse record. In addition, drivers may access their own Clearinghouse record.
Further, Drivers have the right to request inaccurate information in their Clearinghouse record be corrected. In accordance with the Department of Transportation’s Privacy Act procedures in 49 CFR part 10, subpart E, drivers may submit a written request to the Chief, Drug and Alcohol Programs Division, detailing the correction and the reasons the record should be so corrected. For full instructions on how to submit a request, see the Requests for Record Correction Under the Privacy Act job aid.
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.
Yes, there is no requirement that the employer personally perform the registration. As part of the Clearinghouse registration process, each authorized user must obtain their own unique login.gov credentials and a user verification process must be completed to ensure that only the authorized user is accessing the Clearinghouse by using those credentials. Regardless of who performs the registration function, the employer is ultimately responsible for compliance with Clearinghouse requirements.
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.
As of January 6, 2023, when three years of violation data is stored in the Clearinghouse, prospective employers must conduct a pre-employment query of the Clearinghouse, as set forth in § 382.701(a), to comply with the inquiry requirement in §§ 382.413(b) and 391.23(e)(4), as it pertains to previous FMCSA-regulated employers. Inquiries not conducted under § 382.701(a) will not satisfy these inquiry requirements.
However, if a prospective employee was subject to drug and alcohol testing by a Department of Transportation (DOT) mode other than the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), (Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, etc.), prospective employers must continue to request drug and alcohol violation information from those DOT-regulated employers in accordance with § 391.23(e)(4)(ii), since violation information for other DOT modes is not reported to the Clearinghouse.
No. An employer is not required to conduct a pre-employment query of the Clearinghouse before administering a road test to a prospective driver subject to 49 CFR part 382. Under § 382.701(a), employers are required to query the Clearinghouse when hiring a driver to perform safety sensitive functions. The road test occurs before the driver is hired; therefore, employers may conduct a pre-employment query at the time they road test a prospective driver but are not required to do so.
Within two business days of making a determination or verification of a Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved drug test, an MRO must report:
- Verified positive, adulterated, or substituted controlled substances test results; or
- Refusal-to-test determination.
The MRO must report any changes of a verified drug test within one business day of making any changes to the reported results.
Registration is required to complete these actions—visit https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/Register to register.
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.
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.
If your employer has a USDOT Number, visit https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/register and
All other users must contact your Clearinghouse Administrator to request an invitation to register for the Clearinghouse. Once you receive this invitation email, follow the link in the email to begin your registration in the Clearinghouse. Download the instructional job aid.
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).
At this time, there are no integration specifications available. Due to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) security requirements and the sensitive nature of driver violation information, employers and consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs) must access the Clearinghouse directly. In addition, the Clearinghouse final rule requires FMCSA to record specific consent for the release of the driver’s detailed violation information within the Clearinghouse.
Yes, if the MRO meets the requirements under § 40.121.
As set forth in 49 CFR 382.717(a)(2)(i), a driver who has received a traffic citation for driving a CMV while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances that did not result in a conviction may petition that FMCSA add documentary evidence of a non-conviction to their Clearinghouse record. This documentation may, for example, include a certificate of disposition from the court, a letter from a prosecutor stating that the charge has been dropped, or a screenshot from a court online docket system that displays the disposition. A statement from the driver, even if provided in the form of an affidavit, will not be considered unless accompanied by documentary evidence as described above.
Employers must update any changes to its service agents within 10 days of the change.
Yes, all Mexican or Canadian employers, employees, or service agents operating in the United States that are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) drug and alcohol testing requirements must comply with the Clearinghouse final rule.
Per 49 CFR 40.25(h), all DOT-regulated employers are required to comply with requests for information under § 40.25(b). Therefore, when an FMCSA-regulated employer receives an inquiry from an employer regulated by another DOT modal agency, such as the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), or Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the FMCSA-regulated employer must promptly release the most recent result of a Clearinghouse query they conducted on the driver. This information would be available in the FMCSA-regulated employer’s Query History page.
FMCSA-regulated employers should not refer employers regulated by other DOT modes to the Clearinghouse to obtain this information. Only FMCSA-regulated employers are authorized to query the Clearinghouse.
The Clearinghouse will notify the driver using the method indicated during the driver’s Clearinghouse registration—either mail or email—any time information about the driver is added, revised, or removed. If the driver has not yet registered for the Clearinghouse, these notifications will be sent by mail using the address associated with the driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL).
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.
Yes. An employer is required to conduct pre-employment and annual queries for all drivers subject to drug and alcohol testing under 49 CFR Part 382.
While the employee may perform more than 50 percent of their functions for a mode other than FMCSA, possibly placing the employee in that agency’s random pool, the Clearinghouse query requirements apply so long as the employee performs any FMCSA-regulated functions.
Yes. Each Clearinghouse Administrator you will be an Assistant for will need to send you an invitation. The invitation should be sent to the email address you use for your login.gov account. (Note: FMCSA Portal users do not need to send or receive invitations, as these relationships are controlled in the Portal.).
Employers who have previously conducted a query on a driver will be notified by email when there is new information in a driver’s Clearinghouse record if:
- The query was initiated on or after the September 14, 2022 System of Records Notice; and
- The new information was recorded after March 8, 2023.
All users registered under the employer, including Assistants, will receive the notification email. If a consortium third-party administrator (C/TPA) initiated the query on behalf of the employer, the C/TPA’s Clearinghouse users will also receive the notification email. These users will also see a notice of new information in the Query History.
Yes. Employers may designate a C/TPA or C/TPAs to conduct queries and/or report violations on their behalf. The C/TPA must be registered in the Clearinghouse before an employer can select the C/TPA, and C/TPAs must be designated by the employer before reporting drug and alcohol program violations or querying the Clearinghouse on their behalf.An owner-operator (an employer that employs himself or herself as a commercial driver’s license (CDL) driver, typically a single-driver operation) must designate their C/TPA(s) as part of their Clearinghouse registration process.
The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse statute allows the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to collect Clearinghouse fees when querying from all employers, including Federal, State, or local government entities that employ commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators.
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.
No, follow-up testing plans are not included in a driver’s Clearinghouse record. When a prospective employee has not completed a follow-up testing plan prescribed by the substance abuse professional (SAP), the subsequent new employer must obtain the follow-up testing plan from the previous employer, as required in § 382.413, and report the date the follow-up testing plan was completed.
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)
Yes. Before you can link your Portal account, you will need to ensure you have the proper Clearinghouse Portal user role (for more information download the Clearinghouse Portal user role job aid). Once you have the Clearinghouse Portal user role, go to My Dashboard > My Profile and select ”Add USDOT #.” Follow the system instructions to link your Portal account.
No. Information from the Clearinghouse will not be shared with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Driver Register.
No. Only Part 382 drug and alcohol program violations may be reported to the Clearinghouse.
The Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF) specifies the DOT agency requesting the test, and employers may only report to the Clearinghouse a positive result when FMCSA is agency designated on the CCF.
Yes. Anyone who employs a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder must query the Clearinghouse (§ 382.701). This requirement includes owner-operators—that is, any employer that employs himself or herself as a CDL driver, typically a single-driver operation. Owner-operators must comply with all Clearinghouse requirements imposed on both employers and employees. An owner-operator’s designated consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) may conduct queries on their behalf. However, the C/TPA is responsible for reporting drug and alcohol program violations to the Clearinghouse for the owner-operator.
Section 382.703(a) states “No employer may query the Clearinghouse to determine whether a record exists for any particular driver without first obtaining that driver’s written or electronic consent.” The type of consent required depends on the type of query.
For a limited query, a general consent is required. This is obtained outside the Clearinghouse. Employers may obtain a multi-year general consent from the driver for limited queries. A sample limited consent form from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is available.
For a full query, the driver must provide specific consent to the employer prior to each full query. This consent must be provided electronically within the Clearinghouse.
- Failure to comply with the FMCSA IT Rules of Behavior.
- Failure to comply with the Clearinghouse requirements in 49 CFR Part 382.
- Failure to comply with an FMCSA request for copies of documents related to the Clearinghouse (e.g., copies of consent forms).
- Failure to comply with any of the prescribed rights and restrictions on access to the Clearinghouse, including but not limited to, submission of inaccurate or false information and misuse or misappropriation of access rights or protected information from the Clearinghouse and failure to maintain the requisite qualifications, certifications and/or training requirements as set forth in 49 CFR Part 40.
- For Service Agents, failure to perform the duties prescribed under 49 CFR Parts 40 and 382, or being subject to a Public Interest Exclusion under 49 CFR Part 40, Subpart R.
- Being under government-wide suspension or debarment under 2 CFR part 180.
If the Clearinghouse experiences a technical issue that prevents users from conducting queries, FMCSA will post a notification on the home page informing employers that they may hire a driver using only the procedures set forth in 49 CFR 391.23(e). If no such notification is on the home page, the requirement to conduct pre-employment queries, in addition to the manual inquiries established in § 391.23(e), prior to engaging a driver in safety-sensitive functions is in effect.
If a driver is hired without a pre-employment query due to the scenario outlined above, once the technical issues have been resolved, the employer must access the Clearinghouse to conduct the pre-employment query as required by § 382.701(1). The employer may have the driver perform a safety-sensitive function, such as operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), while waiting for the result of this pre-employment query. If the query result is that the driver is prohibited, the driver must be immediately removed from safety-sensitive functions.
Employers are required to report a drug and alcohol program violation by the close of the third business day following the date on which the employer obtained the information.
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)).
No. As of January 6, 2020, an employer’s valid registration in the Clearinghouse satisfies record retention requirements in §§ 382.701(e) and 391.53(b)(2) since the Clearinghouse now contains three years of drug and alcohol violation data.
The Clearinghouse retains a record of every query an employer conducts. This includes any queries conducted by a designated consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) on their behalf. Employers may choose to maintain separate copies of their Clearinghouse queries in a driver qualification file or driver investigation history file or other location but are not required to do so as of January 6, 2023.
However, under § 391.53(b)(2), if the employee was subject to drug and alcohol testing by a Department of Transportation (DOT) mode other than FMCSA, (Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, etc.), employers must continue to retain copies of responses received from those DOT-regulated employers in the driver investigation history file, since violation information for other DOT modes is not reported to the Clearinghouse.
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.
The following information must be provided:
- Reason for the test;
- Federal Drug Testing Chain of Custody Form (CCF) specimen ID number;
- Driver’s name, date of birth, and commercial driver’s license (CDL) number and State of issuance;
- Employer’s name, address, and USDOT Number, if applicable;
- Date of the test and date of the verified result;
- Test result;
- In the case of an adulterated specimen, the adulterant/reason must also be provided.
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.
Per § 382.705(b)(5), when reporting actual knowledge, employers must report the following:
- Driver's name, date of birth, commercial driver’s license (CDL) number and State of issuance;
- Employer name, address, and USDOT number, if applicable;
- Date the employer obtained actual knowledge of the violation;
- Witnesses to the violation, if any, including contact information;
- Description of the violation;
- Evidence supporting each fact alleged in the description of the violation, which may include, but is not limited to, affidavits, photographs, video or audio recordings, employee statements (other than admissions pursuant to § 382.121), correspondence, or other documentation; and
- A certificate of service or other evidence showing that the employer provided the employee with all information reported.
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.
Only Canadian and Mexican employers operating in the United States that are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) drug and alcohol testing requirements must report drug and alcohol program violations to the Clearinghouse.
When an employer receives a notification that there is a change to information in a driver’s Clearinghouse record, the employer should complete a full follow-on query within 24 hours to determine if the new information prohibits the driver from performing safety-sensitive functions, such as operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
In order for the employer to conduct the follow-on query, the driver must provide specific consent electronically in the Clearinghouse. In accordance with 49 CFR 382.703(c), if the driver refuses to grant specific consent, the employer must remove the driver from safety-sensitive functions until a full query is conducted and the results obtained. Once the full query is conducted, the driver may resume safety-sensitive functions only if the query returns a “Not Prohibited” status.
Unlike individual queries, which are processed as soon as they are entered (in the case of limited queries) or as soon as a driver provides his or her electronic consent (in the case of full queries), bulk queries are processed in batches. These batches are processed each night, between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. ET., in order to avoid overloading the system during peak user hours.
Each night, the system will rotate through the submitted files, processing a batch of queries from each file in turn. Therefore, all bulk files are processed at approximately the same rate, regardless of the number of queries they contain.
Employers must conduct an annual query on current employees at least once within a 365-day period based on the date the employer conducted the last query, or another 12-month period determined by the employer, as long as the requirements of 49 CFR 382.701(b) are met.
The annual query requirement is tracked on a rolling 12-month (365-day) basis. For example, if an employer conducts a preemployment query on a prospective employee (or an annual query on a current employee) on December 1, 2022, and the employer is then hired, the employer is not required to conduct another query on that employee again until December 1, 2023.
If an employer receives a notification that a driver has a change to their Clearinghouse record and completes a follow-on query, the follow-on query satisfies the annual query requirement and the rolling 12 months will reset based on the date of the follow-on query. For example, an employer initiated a query on January 1, 2023, then received a notification and requested driver consent for the follow-on query; if the follow-on query is completed on February 1, 2023, the employer would not be required to complete a new annual query on the driver until February 1, 2024.
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).
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.
The current paper versions of the CCF and ATF specifically permit the use of either the driver’s social security number (SSN) or an employee identification number (EIN). However, under § 382.705, the driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) number and the state of issuance must be used in place of the SSN or EIN when completing the Federal CCF or ATF.
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.
A history of an employer’s full and limited queries, including those conducted by a designated C/TPA, is maintained in the Clearinghouse. This includes records of the driver’s response to consent requests for any full queries conducted or initiated.
Employers must retain records of drivers’ limited consent for 3 years. This does not have to be retained in the driver qualification file, but the employer must be able to provide evidence upon request.
Because your Clearinghouse account is associated with the email address you used to create your login.gov account, you will need to update your email address with login.gov.
To change the email address associated with your login.gov account, go to https://secure.login.gov/ and sign in to your login.gov account. Click on “Add email” and go through the process of adding your new email address. Then, click on “Delete” next to the email address you are replacing and go through the process of deleting it. For more information, visit the login.gov website.
For more information on creating or managing your login.gov account, visit https://login.gov/contact.
An employer must conduct a pre-employment query for a prospective employee in the Clearinghouse prior to hiring the employee for a position requiring him or her to perform safety-sensitive functions, such as operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The employer must also query the Clearinghouse annually for all currently employed CDL drivers.
Yes, the Clearinghouse supports a feature allowing employers to submit a bulk query by uploading a file containing multiple drivers to be queried; these queries will be conducted in batches. The Clearinghouse allows for the bulk uploading of driver queries by preparing and uploading a file into the Clearinghouse for processing. This file must be either a tab-delimited file, XLS file, or XLSX file, and must use the format outlined in the Bulk Queries File Setup instructions. Download the instructions and example files.
If an MRO changes a verified drug test, the MRO must submit that change to the Clearinghouse within one business day of making the change in the reported results.
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.
The employer may still report the drug and alcohol program violation even if the required timeframe has passed. However, the Clearinghouse captures the date the violation was reported. This information may be reviewed during an investigation of the employer’s operations and compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Drivers are not required to register for the Clearinghouse. However, a driver will need to be registered to provide electronic consent in the Clearinghouse if a prospective or current employer needs to conduct a full query of the driver’s Clearinghouse record—this includes all pre-employment queries.
A driver must also be registered to electronically view the information in his or her own Clearinghouse record.
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.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) takes the protection of personal information very seriously. The Clearinghouse will meet all relevant Federal security standards and FMCSA will verify the effectiveness of the security protections on a regular basis.
- Clearinghouse information is not available to the public; only authorized users are able to register and access the Clearinghouse for designated purposes.
- The Clearinghouse requires authentication, via a login.gov username and password, to access records. Login.gov, a shared service which offers secure online access to participating government systems, also requires the completion of a user verification process to ensure the proper person is using those credentials.
- Drivers registered in the Clearinghouse can access their Clearinghouse records at any time, and at no cost to them. Drivers may only access their own information, not information about other drivers.
- FMCSA will only share detailed drug and alcohol violation information with a prospective or current employer, and/or their designated consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA), when an employer or designated C/TPA has requested and received specific consent from the driver. Drivers will be able to see the information that would be released to an employer before consenting to the release.
- Driver information will only be used by FMCSA and other enforcement agencies as required to enforce drug and alcohol testing regulations.
- 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.
Download and complete the Bulk Upload Template File. (C/TPAs: If you work with multiple employers, you will need to upload a separate file for each employer.) Once you have completed the bulk upload file, log in to the Clearinghouse. Under My Dashboard, go to Queries and select “submit a bulk upload.”
Yes, if the SAP meets the requirements under § 40.281.
No. The Clearinghouse final rule did not change the underlying requirements in 49 CFR Part 382, which apply to employers of individuals subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) drug and alcohol use testing requirements. As stated in § 382.103, those testing requirements apply to CDL holders who operate a CMV in commerce “in any State.” As defined in § 383.5, State means “a State of the United States and the District of Columbia.”
No. The final rule requires the driver’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) number and issuing State must be used when reporting a drug and alcohol program violation in the Clearinghouse.
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.