Preparing for Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Regulated by the Department of Transportation

Posted: April 17, 2019

drug and alcohol clearinghouse

If you are an employer, commercial driver license holder or even a commercial driver permit holder, Info Cubic, LLC is here to share some information with you regarding the drug and alcohol clearinghouse that is coming soon under the regulations of the Department of Transportation (DOT). We are here to help you stay informed and to guide you on the new expectations with the clearinghouse database.

To level-set, a clearinghouse database does not exist as of today. This change has been in the works since 2016 for the safety-sensitive duties covered by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations. The reason for creating the clearinghouse is to:

  • Improve the safety of our highways
  • Help employers identify drivers who are not legally permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMV) 
  • Help agencies, state law enforcement, and employers identify who has had drug and alcohol program violations

The clearinghouse database provides real-time information. It ensures that employees under the safety-sensitive positions who have committed a drug and alcohol violation have completed the necessary steps prior to returning back to their safety-sensitive positions, including driving any commercial motor vehicles. 

Fall 2019: Create a User Account

If you fall into one of the below categories, you will need to first comply by creating a user account in the fall of 2019. Each user will gain access to different information based on the permissible purpose.

  • Employers including motor carriers and employers who have drivers that operate CMVs
  • Consortium/Third-Party Administrators (C/TPA)
  • Commercial Driver Licenses and Commercial Learner’s Permit Drivers (CDL/CLP)
  • Medical Review Officers (MROs)
  • Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs)
  • State Driver Licensing Agencies
  • Federal and state enforcement personnel

Each user will not gain access to information contained within the database until January 2020. However, Info Cubic will continue to share updates once more information and links become available, and data is accessible.

January 2020: Clearinghouse Becomes Available to Query

January 2020 is when it will be mandatory to use the clearinghouse to report and query information pertaining to a driver drug and alcohol program, and violations will go into effect. Employers must conduct electronic queries by using the clearinghouse to find drug and alcohol violations. 

Beginning in 2020, drivers will be expected to enter any reported drug and alcohol violations that were recorded in order to comply with the 3-year FMCSA employment history requirement. According to the new requirements, employers will add violations to the database that occur after January 6, 2020.  

January 2023: What to Expect

The plan for January 2023, according to the new regulations, is for employers to comply with the FMCSA requirements by logging into the clearinghouse database to identify prospective drivers who have drug and alcohol program violations. These violations are logged by Medical Review Officers stemming from the original drug or alcohol test. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to review a list of frequently asked questions provided by FMCSA. Here are a few questions that may open the conversation in your organization.

Does the final rule change the existing drug and alcohol program requirements indicated in part 41?

  • No, this rule does not change any existing requirements for the transportation workplace drug and alcohol testing.

How will the data be protected in the clearinghouse?

  • The clearinghouse will meet all relevant Federal security standards, and FMCSA will verify the effectiveness of the security protections on a regular basis.
  • Drivers registered in the clearinghouse will be able to access their clearinghouse records at any time, and at no cost to them. Drivers will only be able to access their own information — not information about other drivers.
  • Driver information will only be shared with FMCSA and other enforcement agencies as required to enforce drug and alcohol use testing regulations.

How are employers and Consortium/Third-Party Administrators required to use the clearinghouse?

  • This will be a centralized location to report drug and alcohol program violations and check that there is no current potential employee that is prohibited from performing safety-sensitive duties, due to unsolved drug and alcohol violations. 
  • These inquires will now need to be part of the hiring process and also completed annually after an employee is hired.
  • Employers can also use the clearinghouse to designate a Consortium/Third-Party Administrator. This is a required step for any employer that employs himself or herself as a driver.

Info Cubic is here to help guide your organization to find the best type of program(s) that fits your organization’s drug-free workplace policy. Contact our Drug Screening Business Coordinator at 877-360-4636 or click here to get the conversation started.  

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