FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Registration Begins Fall 2019 for 2020 Implementation
Written by Lucas Kibby, CleanFleet
*** January 9th, 2020 Update, 8:00am PST : The Clearinghouse website is functional enough to get companies registered, however, there are other internal website issues that will not allow drivers to be registered, Queries to be performed, or positives/refusals to test to be added to the site. FMCSA announced that connecting the FMCSA Portal account to the Clearinghouse registration is NOT NEEDED at this time to have employers register to the Clearinghouse. Fleets that are not hiring drivers, or owner-operators, only have to worry about registering and eventually running the annual query (which can be done anytime in 2020). For fleets that are hiring in January, FMCSA recommends that for carriers do the normal DQ process of contacting “Inquiries of Past Employers” … the procedures set forth in 49 CFR 391.23(e). If you have never done this DQ File process, CleanFleet can help. Once FMCSA has determined and announced that users are able to access the Clearinghouse, pre-employment queries must also be conducted as required by section 382.701(a).. ***
The purpose of the clearinghouse is to prevent CDL holders with positive drug and alcohol test results, refused required drug and alcohol tests, or who have not undergone return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process from job-hopping (moving to different states where the results do not follow them) – making it harder to hire these drivers and keeping the roads safer.
The clearinghouse database, coming 2020, will provide access to real-time information, “ensuring that drivers committing these violations complete the necessary steps before getting back behind the wheel, or performing any other safety-sensitive function.”
According to the new website, Fall 2019 is when registration begins for the clearinghouse where users can establish an account that will allow access to the clearinghouse once it becomes operational on January 6, 2020.
Based on the website launch, the database seems to be on track for the January 6, 2020 implementation when mandatory use of the Clearinghouse to report and query information about driver drug and alcohol program violations goes into effect.
Employers will be required to both query the Clearinghouse and request drug and alcohol testing histories from previous employers (going back 3 years) until January 6, 2023. At that point, the clearinghouse query will replace the need for an employer to request histories from previous employers.
What Types of Drivers and Employers will the Clearinghouse Affect?
According to FMCSA’s latest clearinghouse FactSheet, it will affect “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 state agencies that employ drivers subject to FMCSA drug and alcohol use testing regulations (e.g., Department of Defense, public transit)
What Information Will Be Reported To The Clearinghouse Database?
- A verified positive, adulterated, or substituted controlled substance test
- Refusal to test (includes failure to appear)
- A verified positive alcohol test above .04
- DUI citation in a CMV
- DUI conviction in a CMV
- Actual knowledge of illicit alcohol or drug use
- Negative return-to-duty
- Completion of follow-up
Why Query the Database?
- Pre-Employment Screening
- Employers will be required to run detailed queries in order to make sure drivers they are planning to hire do not have outstanding positive test results
- Annual Screening
- Employers will also be required to run limited queries for current drivers at least once a year to determine whether information exists in the Clearinghouse about those employees
- If the limited query returns any results, a detailed query is required
What do I need to do now to prepare for Jan 6, 2020?
- Must register authority with Clearinghouse, starting Fall 2019
- Be sure CDL information (number and state of origin) is in driver file and easily accessible
- Make changes to hiring information that includes consent from drivers to do an initial detailed query, and include the details for which an employer will report results to the Clearinghouse
- Train DERs and safety officers on the required documentation for reporting “actual knowledge” of drugs or alcohol use while operating a CMV
- Be prepared to use your CDL Number when testing
- Employers will require you to give consent whenever needed to run a full query
- Refusing to give consent will result in not being able to perform safety sensitive functions with that employer
Visit https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov to learn more.
At CleanFleet, we offer several bundle packages that provide special savings and extra services that can include:
- Consortium/TPA Services
- CDL Clearinghouse Services
- DQ File Management
- Driver and Company Managed Training
- New Company Drug & Alcohol and other FMCSA Required Policies