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FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Up and Running

from NAPT

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced that the agency's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse "is now fully operational, and mandatory use is now in effect."

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.

It 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.

Importantly, the Clearinghouse will identify drivers who move frequently and obtain CDLs in different States and link those CDLs, in order to maintain complete and accurate information on such drivers. In other words, if a driver has a drug and alcohol program violation in one state, then applies for a CDL in another state, the clearinghouse will be able to connect that driver's drug and alcohol history to the new CDL. This is good news for interstate operators, especially those that operate in multiple states.

The Clearinghouse was supposed to be fully operational by January 6, 2020. However, upon its launch, it was plagued with technical difficulties, so FMCSA posted a notice to that effect, advising employers to qualify drivers without complying with the new Clearinghouse requirements until further notice by FMCSA.

Effective immediately, employers must use the Clearinghouse to:
  • Conduct a full query of the Clearinghouse as part of each pre-employment driver investigation process.
  • Conduct limited queries at least annually for every driver they employ.
  • Request electronic consent from the driver for a full query if a limited query comes back requiring a full query. The employer must run a full query within 24-hours or the driver cannot perform safety-sensitive functions.
  • Report drug and alcohol program violations.
  • Record the negative return-to-duty (RTD) test results and the date of successful completion of a follow-up testing plan for any driver they employ with unresolved drug and alcohol program violations.
Additional information about the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is available here. more

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