Truckers must register with federal drug database to change jobs starting in 2020

Starting in 2020, the FMCSA, trucking employers, state driver licensing agencies, and law enforcement officials will have real-time access to truck driver drug and alcohol violation information.

FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set out new rules that will require truck drivers to register with a federal database before they are allowed to change jobs.

Starting on January 6, 2020, drivers who wish to change jobs will be required to register with the FMCSA’s Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse as part of part of their employment-related background check. Voluntary registration will begin in October 2019.

The Clearinghouse is a secure federal database that provides real-time information about CDL driver drug and alcohol violations. The FMCSA, CMV employers, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and law enforcement officials will all have complete access to the Clearinghouse.

All CDL driver drug and alcohol test failures will be recorded in the Clearinghouse, including:

  • Report for duty/remain on duty for safety-sensitive function with alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater or while using any prohibited drug
  • Alcohol use while performing, or within four hours of performing, a safety-sensitive function
  • Alcohol use within eight hours of a post-accident alcohol test
  • Test positive for use of specified drugs (This could include a post crash test, a pre-employment drug screening, or a random drug test)
  • Refusing to submit to a required alcohol or drug test

The Clearinghouse will also contain information on whether a CDL holder has completed the necessary procedures to return to duty after a failed drug or alcohol test.

When truck drivers begin to register on January 6, 2020, they will effectively be giving current or future employers permission to view any drug or alcohol violations on their electronic records. Drivers will also be able to view their own drug and alcohol violation records online using the Clearinghouse and will be able to dispute any errors in the database.

Until January 6, 2023, trucking companies will be required to access the Clearinghouse in addition to requesting traditional drug and alcohol violation histories from a driver’s previous employers. After 2023, the past three years of drug and alcohol violation information will all be stored in the Clearinghouse and manual record requests will no longer be required.

The FMCSA says that the new Clearinghouse is designed to help “employers, FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and State law enforcement to quickly and efficiently identify drivers who are not legally permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) due to drug and alcohol program violations.”

The FMCSA says that the Clearinghouse will increase highway safety by making it harder for truck drivers to conceal drug and alcohol violations from their current or previous employers.

You can click here to learn more about the new Clearinghouse requirements.