The mission of the US Department of Transportation is to ensure the nation has the safest, most efficient and modern transportation system in the world.
FMCSA Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
The mission of the US Department of Transportation is to ensure the nation has the safest, most efficient and modern transportation system in the world.The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, MAP-21, is a funding and authorization bill to govern United States federal surface transportation spending. It was passed by Congress on June 29, 2012 and President Barack Obama signed it on July 6. Within this Act, section 32402 mandates the Clearinghouse database.
The result is what's now known as the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, is the largest of all of the Department of Transportation modes with approximately 8.7 million active Commercial Drivers License holders in the United States. Originally a part of the Federal Highway Administration, the FMCSA was established as a separate department in January 2000 to help reduce commercial motor vehicle related injuries and fatalities.
While the FMCSA develops and enforces standards and best practices for Commercial Drivers License holders, this doesn’t mean all active CDL holders drive trucks. For example The American Trucking Association estimates only about 3.5 million of the country's 8.7 million license holders are professional truck drivers. That is a lot of trucks hauling goods and people on our public roads.
The final ruling to establish requirements for the Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse was passed on December 5, 2016.
The database that is specifically under the FMCSA Agency's administration will contain information about violations of FMCSA's drug and alcohol testing program for the holders of commercial driver's licenses (CDLs). The ruling was added to 49 CFR Part 382 as subpart G (Sections 382.701 through 382.727), and includes certain areas of Parts 383, 384, and 391.
The Clearinghouse database is designed to be a central repository for drug and alcohol testing program violations of the holders of commercial drivers licenses. It will improve transportation and public safety by identifying drivers that violate the federal drug and alcohol testing program and make them ineligible to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
What Is the FMCSA Clearinghouse?
The FMCSA Clearinghouse is a secure online database providing employers, State Driver Licensing Agencies, State law enforcement personnel and the FMCSA information about CDL driver drug and alcohol program violations in real-time.
The Clearinghouse addresses a common issue of driver’s ability to conceal their drug and alcohol violations by moving on to the next employer or into another jurisdiction. The driver’s record “follows” them based on their CDL number, allowing Employers, and other agencies, the visibility regardless of how many times they try to change employers or apply for a CDL in a different State, and until they complete the required evaluation and treatment and return to duty process as outline in 49 CFR Part 40 Subpart O.
According to the FMCSA, the Clearinghouse database will improve highway safety in key areas:
The Clearinghouse ruling was finalized and published December 2016.
The long-awaited database registration began on November 2019.
Registration Details For The FMCSA Clearinghouse Database
Enforcement of the Clearinghouse began on January 6, 2020 and includes all CDL drivers, motor carrier employers, Medical Review Officers, Substance Abuse Professionals, HHS laboratories, and Third Party Administrators as required to register.
Employers are required to run a full query on commercial motor vehicle drivers to whom they’ve offered a job as part of the pre-employment screening process. Limited queries are required annually on currently employed drivers.
Employers don't just have an obligation to run an employee check. They are also required to submit any discovered drug and alcohol testing program violations into the FMCSA Clearinghouse database. Drivers, motor carriers and medical review officers (MROs) can be fined up to $5,833 for each violation of any provision within the Clearinghouse.
Clearly this will add time, liability, increased audits, and potential fines to the already tedious process of maintaining program compliance.
Talk To Our Clearinghouse Expert Advisors & Consultants
Our consultants are way ahead of the compliance obligations. We educate, provide guidance, and help manage the additional screening requirements for you. We take away the strain of additional paperwork and procedural obligations allowing you to focus on what’s important: your business.
The employee consumer data warehoused with the DOT Clearinghouse database is, of course, confidential. and subject to protections by certain provisions of both the Privacy Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). It’s therefore crucially important for every employee screening services provider to be knowledgeable and fully conversant with the protocols and obligations inherent in dealing with personal data. This makes us uniquely qualified as we already must follow ALL the requirements outlined in the Privacy Act and FCRA from our status as a regulated Consumer Reporting Agency.
Not all companies are like us and your liability and compliance are what’s most important. This is a very important differentiator in partnering with us – one that keeps your business interests safe.
Just like you we believe workplace and community safety are of the utmost importance. We are here to take the workload by easily packaging the additional requirements to the current pre-screening and post-employment screening on your behalf.
Check out our FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Program and FMCSA Compliance and Training memberships. We are your one-stop compliance partner.