Voluntary registration for FMCSA drug and alcohol database opens, mandatory compliance date looms

The mandatory compliance date is just a few months away.

Drug and Alcohol Database

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has opened registration for its Commercial Drivers License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

Voluntary registration for the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse opened on October 1, 2019.

The mandatory compliance date is January 6, 2020. At this time, motor carriers will be required to query the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse database before hiring a driver and one per year for existing drivers.

The FMCSA says that drivers are not required to register by the mandatory compliance date, but they must be registered in order to to provide employers with electronic permission to query their drug and alcohol records prior to hiring. They will also be able to use the Clearinghouse to view their own drug and alcohol records.

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.

There is no cost to register with the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

“As this Congressional mandate is enacted, FMCSA’s goal is to ensure drivers, employers, and everyone who will be using the clearinghouse are registered as efficiently and effectively as possible.  FMCSA is here to be helpful during this implementation, and we strongly encourage all CMV stakeholders to get registered in the clearinghouse now,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.

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.

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.

You can click here to begin the voluntary registration process. If you have questions about the Clearinghouse, you can click here to access the FMCSA’s FAQ page about the new program.

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