Standing Against Impaired Driving: FMCSA’s CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
Drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and their employers follow the regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations establish requirements that truck and bus companies must follow. Among these is the responsibility to implement, conduct, and follow drug and alcohol testing program requirements to help keep our roadways safe.
Before any driver is permitted to operate a CMV on public roads, their employer must verify that they are not prohibited from operating a CMV due to a drug and alcohol program violation. These violations include: a positive drug or alcohol test, a refusal to take a test, or an employer’s actual knowledge of a drug and alcohol program violation.
In January 2020, FMCSA launched the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, to improve transparency and accountability in reporting drug and alcohol program violations. The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that contains records of violations of drug and alcohol prohibitions in 49 CFR Part 382, Subpart B. Rather than solely relying on drivers or their previous employers to disclose previous violations, the Clearinghouse gives authorized users direct, real-time access to information about a driver’s violations of the drug and alcohol program.
How it works: When a CDL or CLP holder incurs a violation, an authorized entity records this violation in the Clearinghouse, where it is associated with the driver’s CDL or CLP information. Employers of CDL drivers are required to check the Clearinghouse using the drivers’ CDL or CLP information prior to hiring a driver, and at least once a year for all drivers they employ. The purpose of this query is to verify whether their current or prospective employees have a violation in their Clearinghouse record that would prohibit the driver from operating CMVs (all queries require driver consent). If so, the employer must not allow that driver to operate a CMV on public roads until the driver completes the required return-to-duty process. Download the Clearinghouse Employers brochure for more information on how employers of CDL drivers are required to use the Clearinghouse.
A driver does not need to be registered in the Clearinghouse for an employer to determine if the driver has a violation because the violation information is associated with the CDL or CLP information. However, drivers must register in the Clearinghouse to electronically review their Clearinghouse record, and to consent to employer queries. Download the Clearinghouse Driver brochure for more information on how CDL and CLP holders use the Clearinghouse.
For more information about the Clearinghouse, visit https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov.