On January 6, 2020, the FMCSA’s Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will go into effect. Employees, Applicants, Permit Holders, Employers, Medical Review Officers, Substance Abuse Professionals, and Third-Party Administrators all have an obligation and responsibility to use the clearinghouse beginning January 6th. The FMCSA Clearinghouse will be a repository of the following information:
As a commercial motor vehicle driver subject to drug and alcohol testing under 49 CFR Parts 40 and 382, the driver’s first responsibility is to register in the clearinghouse. Registration is now open for the clearinghouse and FMCSA has provided step by step walk through documents in their learning center on how to register. During registration, its recommend the driver sets their notification preference to email to avoid delays that can slow down the hiring process, to receive updates when an entry is made on their record, or cause them to be removed from safety-sensitive functions if they do not provide consent within 24 hours of an annual query.
In addition, after January 6, 2020, drivers will be required to use their CDL State and CDL Number on the chain of custody and alcohol testing forms instead of their social security number or employee ID. All data will be captured in the clearinghouse using this as the key identifier. FMCSA views your CDL State and CDL Number as the employee’s identification.
If a driver has a violation that requires them to use a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), the driver will need to designate this individual in the clearinghouse. This will enable the SAP to indicate when the driver has completed their assessment and are ready to begin the required return-to-duty and follow-up testing.
FMCSA has provided a means for drivers to dispute data that is uploaded in error to their record or to request removal of any DUIs that did not result in a conviction. The dispute process is not a means for challenging a verified drug or alcohol test.
Employers need to register and purchase query plans to be ready for the January 6, 2020 compliance date. Both of these steps can be completed by visiting the FMCSA Clearinghouse web site. Completing these steps will allow employers to be compliant by check the Clearinghouse when hiring a new driver in a safety-sensitive role and on an annual basis. Along with the pre-employment query, employers will need to continue to reach out to previous employers as required under 49 CFR Part 40.25 until January 2023.
Consent for a pre-employment search, or a full annual search, can only be provided by the driver through their clearinghouse dashboard. The driver will receive a notification from the clearinghouse when an employer or C/TPA requests a full query. Failure to provide consent, or rejection of consent, within 24 hours of a full annual query will require the employer to remove the driver from safety-sensitive functions.
Employers may also run a limited query on an annual basis, which will only indicate if the driver has a record in the clearinghouse. Consent for a limited query will need to be collected by the employer on a general consent form outside of the clearinghouse. If a limited query indicates that the driver has a record in the clearinghouse, the employer will be required to run a full query to access the information. As this would be a full query, the driver will be required to provide consent within the clearinghouse, the general consent form can only apply to a limited query.
We understand that this is a lot of information to handle, and we are here to assist you. We will provide you with news and updates as the FMCSA releases more information. We are registered as a TPA with the Clearinghouse so that carriers will be able to designate FSSolutions as their TPA. If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about FSSolutions’ Clearinghouse services, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on the clearinghouse