Frequently asked questions
What is the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse?
The clearinghouse is a secure online database that will give employers real-time information about commericial driver's license (CDL) holders' drug and alcohol program violations.
When must employers conduct a query of a CDL driver's information in the Clearinghouse?
Beginning January 6, 2020, an employer must conduct a pre-employment query for a prospective employee prior to hiring the employee to perform safety-sensitive functions or operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The employer must also query annually for all currently employed CDL drivers.
May an amployer authorize a third party administartor (TPA) to conduct queries in the Clearinghouse on their behalf?
Yes. Employers may designate a TPA to conduct queries and/or report violations on their behalf.
How are employers and third party administratoors (TPAs) required to use the Clearinghouse?
The Clearinghouse offers employers a centralized location to report drug and alcohol program violations and check that no current or prospective employee is 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) prcoess. This query must be conducted as apart of a pre-employment driver investigation, and at least annually for current employees.
When may employers and drivers register with the Clearinghouse?
Clearinghouse registration is scheduled to open in October 2019. We've got you covered. We'll let you know when registration is open and we'll send step-by-step instructions to simplify the process.
Once the Clearinghouse is implemented, will prospective employers still need to conduct drug and alcohol three-year pre-employment driver investigations with previous employers?
Yes, a prospective employer or their designated third-party administrator (TPA) will be required to conduct both electronic queries in the Clearinghouse and manual inquiries with previous employers to meet the three-year timeframe for pre-employment driver investigations as required per §391.23(e).
What is the difference between a limited query and a full query?
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 equired on an annual basis, it may be effective or more than one year. However, the limited consent request must specify the timeframe the driver is providing consent for. There will be a limited query consent form that must be completed and kept on file for each driver before an employer may conduct a limited query for that driver. We'll send the consnt form as soon as FMCSA releases it.
What violation and return-to-duty (RTD) information must employers report to the Clearinghouse?
Employers must report the following information to the Clearinghouse:
Check out these links to learn more about the Clearinghouse...
The Clearinghouse website: https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/