Volume 62, Number 2
May / June / July 2017

Commercial Driver’s License Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse

On February 1, 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) published a 6-page booklet answering frequently asked questions about the implementation of a Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

This brochure is available online at https://www. fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/commercial-drivers-license-drug-and-alcohol-clearinghouse

U.S., Canadian and Mexican employers will be required to provide information, within three business days, about drivers who violate the DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders. Medical Review Officers and Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs) will also be required to report information. The database will not include follow-up testing plans but failure to complete such plans will be noted.

Any employer considering a current or prospective employee for commercial motor vehicle operation on a public road will be required to check the Clearinghouse for violations by that potential driver. Employers will also be required to check on all CDL drivers employees annually.

If a driver is issued a CDL by a state or renews, transfers or upgrades his/her license, the state must check the clearinghouse for violations.

The objective of the Clearinghouse is to assure that employers do not permit drivers who have violated DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations to work in safety sensitive positions unless that driver has completed the required evaluation and treatment as recommended by a SAP.

The Clearinghouse will close a loophole that made it difficult for employers to identify drivers who violate the drug and alcohol regulations while working for another employer. In the past, the only way an employer could know if a driver failed a pre-employment test was for the driver to admit it on his/her job application or in an interview.

Implementation will begin on January 4, 2020 and only violations that occur on or after that date will be entered into the database and be available for query.

There are safeguards for drivers regarding their private information which allow a driver to check his/ her own record, notification by mail requirements when a driver is added to the list and an administrative process by which a driver can request corrections regarding the accuracy of the information reported.

Drivers must consent before an employer can check their status with the Clearinghouse. Their records, utilizing CDL numbers, will remain in the Clearinghouse database for five years. Social Security numbers will not be used in the database.

TAP and TARP provide SAP evaluations for drivers who work at companies participating in Trust Funds contracted with TAP and TARP. SAP evaluations are conducted at no cost to the employee or driver.