FMCSA CLEARINGHOUSE

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. The Clearinghouse will contain records of violations of drug and alcohol prohibitions, 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 will also be recorded in the Clearinghouse.




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. An owner-operator (an employer that employs himself or herself as a commercial driver's license (CDL) driver) must designate their TPA as part of their Clearinghouse registration process.




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. In addition, employers may designate a TPA that can report violations and perform queries on their behalf. An owner-operator is an employer that employs himself or herself as a CDL driver and must designate the TPA in the Clearinghouse. To complete the action outlined above, employers will be required to register with the Clearinghouse.




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). On January 6, 2023, once three years of violation data is stored in the Clearinghouse, prospective employers wil no longer be required to conduct manual inquiries with a CDL driver's previous employers; the prospective employer's query of the Clearinghouse will satisfy that requirement. However, if a prospective employee was subject to drug and alcohol testing by a Department of Transportation (DOT) mode other than the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), prospective employers must continue to request drug and alcohol violation information from those DOT-regulated employers, since that information will not be reported to the Clearinghouse.




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. A full query allows the employer to see detailed information about any drug and alcohol program violation in a driver's Clearinghouse record. An employer must obtain the driver's electronic consent in the Clearinghouse prior to the release of detailed violation information during the full query.




What violation and return-to-duty (RTD) information must employers report to the Clearinghouse?


Employers must report the following information to the Clearinghouse: - An alcohol confirmation test result with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater - A CDL driver's refusal to submit to a Department of Transportation (DOT) test for drug or alcohol use - Actual knowledge, as defined in §382.107 - The negative return to duty (RTD) test results - The date the driver successfully completed all follow-up tests as ordered by the substance abuse professional (SAP).




Check out these links to learn more about the Clearinghouse...


The Clearinghouse website: https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/ CFR 49 Part 382.701-382.727 is specifically about the Clearinghouse: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=1&ty=HTML&h=L&mc=true&=PART&n=pt49.5.382