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FMCSA CDL Driver Clearinghouse

 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is preparing to implement its Commercial Driver License (CDL) driver Drug and Alcohol Testing Clearinghouse on January 6, 2020.  The purpose of the FMCSA CDL driver Clearinghouse is to centralize information pertaining to violations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) controlled substances (drug) and alcohol testing program for holders of CDLs.  The implementation of the FMCSA CDL driver Clearinghouse makes no change to the controlled substance testing requirements contained in 49 CFR Part 40.

FMCSA believes the centralized Clearinghouse will provide employers with a resource to identify drivers who are prohibited from operating a CMV based on DOT drug and alcohol program violations and ensure that such drivers receive the required evaluation and treatment before operating a CMV on public roads.  The Clearinghouse will serve as a secure database and contain records of violations of drug and alcohol prohibitions in 49 CFR Part 382 B, including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. When a driver completes the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan, this information will also be recorded in the Clearinghouse.  Employers will be able to query the Clearinghouse to access records of violations of drug and alcohol prohibitions for current and prospective employees.

FUELIowa members should register for the Clearinghouse well in advance of January 6, 2020.  Currently, federal DOT custody and control forms (CCF) are used to facilitate both drug and alcohol testing.  Current CCFs allow for a driver to be identified by his or her social security number (SSN) or a unique employee identification number (EIN).  Beginning with the implementation of the Clearinghouse on January 6, 2020, drivers should be identified on federal DOT CCFs for both drug and alcohol testing using their CDL driver’s license number.  FUELIowa recommends gathering driver CDL license numbers in advance of Clearinghouse implementation.

Members should review driver employment handbooks to account for new requirements mandated by the Clearinghouse.  Employee handbooks may need updated to reflect requirements associated with the Clearinghouse for registration and driver consent (both electronic and written).
Members in need of the service of a C/TPA are encouraged to contact FUELIowa.  We will have additional information available in the month leading up to the implementation of the Clearinghouse.

FUELIowa members with CDL drivers subject to controlled substance testing in 49 CFR Part 382 are required to register with the Clearinghouse.  Beginning on January 6, 2020, all prospective new-hire CDL drivers must have a full query conducted on their records within the database.  A full query allows an employer to see detailed information about any drug and alcohol program violations in a driver’s Clearinghouse record.  An employer is also required to perform a full query in the clearinghouse on an existing driver when the results of a limited query of the Clearinghouse turn up information about resolved or unresolved drug and alcohol violations.

In addition to performing full queries on each new-hire CDL driver, employers will be required to use the Clearinghouse to perform a limited query on currently employed CDL drivers annually.  A limited query on existing CDL drivers must be performed annually and within 365 days of a previously performed limited query.  Employers will only perform full queries on existing CDL drivers when a limited query shows an unresolved issue related to drug and/or alcohol testing.
Employers must obtain consent from existing and prospective drivers for access to records within the Clearinghouse.  Clearinghouse consent comes in two forms.  Written driver consent is required to be obtained by employers for performing the annual limited query of existing drivers.  Written consent for a limited query may be obtained outside of the Clearinghouse and cover any time period as specified in the written consent form.  Written consent forms should be stored in a driver’s file.  A draft written consent form is available for FUELIowa members and may be modified to fit your specific needs.  

Electronic consent is provided by the driver within the Clearinghouse and is required to be obtained by the employer when full queries are required to be conducted on new-hire CDL drivers or on existing drivers when the results of a limited query show resolved or unresolved drug and alcohol program violations.  A driver must be registered with the Clearinghouse in order to provide electronic consent.

Existing CDL drivers do not need to register with the Clearinghouse.  Existing drivers will only be required to register with the Clearinghouse if a drug or alcohol testing violation is reported to the Clearinghouse and their employer is required to obtain the driver’s electronic consent to conduct a full query of their Clearinghouse record.  Beginning January 6, 2020, all new-hire CDL drivers will be required to register with the Clearinghouse and provide electronic consent to a prospective employer for a full query of their Clearinghouse record as a condition of employment as CDL driver.  This provision includes existing CDL drivers changing jobs.

Drivers registered with the Clearinghouse will be able to access their Clearinghouse record.  Drivers may request corrections to their Clearinghouse record and drivers may also challenge the accuracy of information reported.  However, a driver will not have recourse to challenge the accuracy or validity of test results or test refusals.

Driver violation records will be available in the Clearinghouse for five years from the date of the violation determination, or until the violation is resolved through the successful completion of the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan, whichever is later.


Many FUELIowa members will fall under FMCSA’s owner-operator designation.  Within the scope of the Clearinghouse, an owner-operator falls under the same requirements as an employer, meaning they must perform a full query on all new-hire CDL drivers beginning January 6, 2020, and perform limited queries on all existing drivers annually.  The owner-operator requirements come into play when the employer is also an active CDL driver. FMCSA does not allow an owner-operator to meet the Clearinghouse requirements for queries or reporting drug and alcohol violations on their own testing record.  Although an owner-operator may perform these functions on the rest of their CDL drivers, FMCSA requires owner-operators to contract with a third-party, or consortium third-party administrator (C/TPA) as labeled by FMCSA.

Owner-operators must associate their company with a C/TPA using the Clearinghouse database.  Owner-operators may designate their C/TPA to perform Clearinghouse requirements for all employed CDL drivers or limit the scope of work provided by the C/TPA to only the owner-operator.  FUELIowa is evaluating its role as a C/TPA as well as what additional options exist for owner-operators.

The information required to be reported in the Clearinghouse is limited to drug and alcohol program violations, including a positive drug or alcohol test result; actual knowledge of use; the refusal to submit to a DOT drug or alcohol test; a negative return-to-duty test result; and additional information as required of substance abuse professionals (SAP).  Test results obtained under the regulatory authority of another government agency or other mode are not allowed to be entered in the Clearinghouse.

Medical Review Officers (MROs) will have up to two business days to report a verified positive test result, adulterated specimen, substituted controlled substances test result, or refusal-to-test determination.  Employers are required to report confirmation of a DOT alcohol test result with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater.  A CDL driver’s refusal to submit to a DOT drug or alcohol test or an employer’s actual knowledge of a driver’s drug or alcohol use are also the responsibility of the employer to enter into the database.  In the event a driver is entered in the return-to-duty protocol under DOT regulations, employers must enter return-to-duty test results and the dates of any follow-up testing as directed by a substance abuse professional (SAP).

The FMCSA CDL driver Clearinghouse can be accessed by clicking here.

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