What is the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and what information does it contain?
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.
How do authorized users sign up to access 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.
Are CDL drivers required to register for the Clearinghouse?
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.
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.
What should I do if I am not able to conduct the required pre-employment queries?
On January 6, 2020, FMCSA posted a notice on the Clearinghouse home page that the system was experiencing technical issues, which made it difficult for employers to conduct pre-employment queries. These technical issues have been addressed. For those drivers that were hired without a pre-employment query, employers must now access the Clearinghouse to conduct pre-employment queries as required by § 382.701(1). The driver may continue to perform a safety-sensitive function pending the result of that query. At this time, no new drivers may be used to perform safety-sensitive functions without a negative Department of Transportation (DOT) drug test result, and a negative result from a full query of the Clearinghouse.
If the Clearinghouse experiences a recurrence of this issue, a notification will be placed on the home page informing employers that you may hire a driver using solely 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 prior to engaging a driver in safety-sensitive functions are in effect.
If a driver violated the drug and alcohol program prior to January 6, 2020, but the employer did not obtain actual knowledge (as defined in § 382.107) of the violation until January 6, 2020 or later, is the employer required to report the violation to the Clearinghouse?
No. The Clearinghouse serves as a repository for records of drug and alcohol program violations occurring on or after January 6, 2020; therefore, employers may report only actual knowledge of violations occurring on or after that date.
Who do I contact with any additional questions?
FMCSA is currently experiencing a high volume of calls on their 800-832-5660 line. If you receive a busy signal, please hang up and try again later.
You may also call (202) 385-2450 to leave a message or send an email to FMCSAlicensing@dot.gov and they will respond to your request as soon as possible.
Answers to questions about registration, licensing and insurance issues can also be found at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ask