Employer Responsibilities in the FMCSA Clearinghouse

Effective January 6, 2020 employers regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have new responsibilities related to their drug and alcohol testing programs.  If you are not yet operating within the Clearinghouse rules, now it the time to get this going.

Policy and Education

First, review your drug/alcohol policy and get it updated for the FMCSA Clearinghouse requirements.  Next update driver education materials to include the list of information that must be reported in the Clearinghouse.  Drivers should be aware of the following:

  1. Employers are required to perform pre-employment and annual queries in the Clearinghouse.
  2. Applicants for driving positions must register online with the Clearinghouse in order to grant consent for a full query.
  3. Once registered, any driver has the ability to obtain their own Clearinghouse reports for free at any time.
  4. Drivers have the ability to challenge the accuracy of information in the Clearinghouse.
  5. Employers will report to the Clearinghouse any violations including positive alcohol tests, refusals to test and actual knowledge of use of drugs or alcohol while working. (see more below under violations)
  6. Medical Review Officers (MRO) will report any positive drug tests or MRO determined refusals to test.

Employer Specific Responsibilities

  1. Register with the Clearinghouse and purchase a query bundle.
  2. If you have a Third- Party Administrator (TPA), who is assisting you with your Clearinghouse responsibilities; designate the TPA in the Clearinghouse.
  3. Update your written policies procedures to ensure violations are reported within three business days.
  4. Update procedures to ensure drivers with violations in the Clearinghouse are removed from safety-sensitive duties until they complete the required Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) education and/or treatment and the return-to-duty testing process.
  5. Run pre-employment queries and an annual query on all employed drivers.

What Violations Must Employer Report in the Clearinghouse

FMCSA regulated motor carriers must report the following information to the Clearinghouse:

  1. Refusals to take a drug test, where the MRO is not involved in making the determination.
  2. Refusals to take an alcohol test.
  3. Alcohol test results of 0.04 or greater.
  4. Negative return-to-duty test results.
  5. Completion of follow-up testing.
  6. “Actual knowledge” that a driver has used alcohol on duty, used alcohol within four hours of coming on duty, used alcohol prior to post-accident testing, or has used a controlled substance.

Need Help with the FMCSA Clearinghouse

ClearinghouseServices.com is a private company not affiliated with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) or the Federal Motor Carrie Safety Administration (FMCSA). It is our goal to assist employers and CDL drivers with their responsibilities mandated by the FMCSA Clearinghouse rule also known as the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse – 49 CFR Part 382, Subpart G.

Contact ClearinghouseServices.com for expert assistance from seasoned professionals to help you navigate the FMCSA Clearinghouse.  Services are available for employers, drivers, and service agents – TPA’s, MRO’s, and SAP’s.  Call 877-345-2425 for immediate assistance.