What You Need to Know and Do with the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
This is critically important if you have CDL drivers.
The Deadline to register and remain compliant is January 6, 2020.
Below are the Basic, Who, What, When, Where and How, of the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
Do not ignore because this is a mandatory change for companies with CDL Drivers beginning January 6, 2020.
Who: Trucking companies who employ or contract CDL Drivers and the CDL Drivers themselves are impacted by this change.
What: The Clearinghouse is a secure database that will give Employers, the FMCSA, State Licensing Agencies (SDLA) and State law enforcement personnel, real-time information about Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and Commercial License Permit (CLP) holders, and drug and alcohol violations.
The violations and prohibitions in 49 CFR Part 382 Subpart B, will now mandatorily be reported and added to clearinghouse records. These violations include:
- Positive Drug and Alcohol test results
- Refusals to test
- Return to duty (RTD) and Follow up test results
- Completion of Substance Abuse Program (SAP)
Where: The clearinghouse is an on-line program and is accessed on a computer.
The link: is packed with information and not difficult to use. Click on the Learn icon to answer questions.
Registration can be done from the upper right-hand corner, look for the Register icon. You can click the register icon below if you are ready to register now.
How: Employers will now be able to make safer hiring choices by checking the clearinghouse. Especially as information is added to the database, as drivers that have had issues with drug and alcohol will begin to show up in the clearinghouse.
Once registered, companies need to check that the contact people are correct, as some information will be pulled from the U.S. DOT number database. Make sure these contacts and your information is current.
You also need to add anyone that may access the clearinghouse on your behalf, such as support staff and C/TPAs you have designated.
Then you will need to select a query plan and provide payment information.
What will Employers be required to report?
- Drug and alcohol violations including alcohol over 0.04%
- Any Refusals to test.
- All actual knowledge violations, such as Reasonable Suspicion.
- Negative Return to Duty (RTD) test results
- Successful completion of driver Follow-up testing.
These need to reported to the clearinghouse no later than the close of business on the third day after the driver is informed.
There are two types of queries:
- Limited queries – thes will tell you if any records are in the clearinghouse, but not what is in the records
- Full queries – These will allow records to be seen,
Who needs which query?
- Any CDL driver applying for a CDL driving position at a new company must have a Full Query through the clearinghouse. Both the company AND the CDL driver will need to be registered through the clearinghouse.
- A Limited Query must be done all current CDL drivers on an annual basis. These can be run as a batch or single queries. If a Limited Query returns with records, a full query must be run within 24 hours or the driver will need to be removed from safety sensitive functions.
The Annual Query can be a Batch File. Click Batch File Icon below to download file.
How will this affect the investigation process for new drivers hired?.
Three (3) years after the start of the clearinghouse, so January 6, 2023, the drug and Alcohol background verifications will no longer need to be done when hiring. However, we will need to continue to get the safety verification from previous employers.
What do CDL Drivers need to do?
Driver seeking new employment must be registered with the clearinghouse, they will have a full query run which requires registration.
If a driver wants to view their own information in the clearinghouse they must be registered.
Drivers in your fleet do not need to be registered to do a limited query; however, they will need to register if anything comes back from the Limited Query because you must run the full query on anyone with records in the clearinghouse.
Consent will be an important part of the process. Each query has its own consent process.
Limited Query Consent – this consent can be written and can be used repeatedly for Limited Queries. It can be a consent they sign off on during the hire process and kept in the file and used as long as they are employed by the company. We have attached a sample that you can adapt by clicking the Policy icon below.
Full Query Consent – this consent is electronically obtained through the clearinghouse. The CDL Driver must be registered to give consent through the clearinghouse.
CDL driver refusal to give consent – It is the right of the driver to refuse to give consent. If a driver refuses, the clearinghouse may not be queried. The driver must then be removed from any safety sensitive functions and may not drive until resolved.
Keep the signed consent for the life of the file, this will be thee only consent you need to have signed as it applies to all Limited queries as long as the driver is employed/contracted.
Like everything now, there will be a cost to use the clearinghouse. The cost is $1.25 per query, for both limited and full queries.
If you run a limited query and it returns with records then you may run a full query for no extra cost.
You can purchase a single query or buy several to have on account. There is not a discount plan for buying multiple queries. Each query is $1.25, the only exception is if records exist on a limited query, then you may do the full query at no extra cost.
Changes to Chain of Custody Forms as of January 6, 2020
The current versions of the CCF specifically permit the use of either the driver’s social security number (SSN) or employee identification number (EIN) when completing the CCF or ATF. However, effective January 6, 2020, FMCSA is requiring that the commercial driver’s license number (CDL) must be used instead of the SSN or EIN when FMCSA-covered drivers’ positive drug or alcohol test results are reported to the Clearinghouse.