Owner Operators and the FMCSA Clearinghouse

If you are a CDL holder and operate your own trucking business as an individual, you are considered an Owner Operator.  You are then subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations. As of January 6. 2020 you will also be required to adhere to the new Clearinghouse rules.

An owner-operator (an employer who employs himself or herself as a CDL driver) is subject to the requirements pertaining to employers as well as those pertaining to drivers. Under the Clearinghouse final rule, an employer who employs himself or herself as a CDL driver must designate a consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) to comply with the employer’s Clearinghouse reporting requirements (§ 382.705(b)(6)).

As an owner-operator, you will need to register for the Clearinghouse and designate a C/TPA to comply with the employer’s Clearinghouse reporting requirements. You may query yourself in the Clearinghouse. However, the C/TPA will be required to report certain drug and alcohol violations, if applicable. 

There is a cost associated to conducting queries in the Clearinghouse. The cost is currently being finalized. Once finalized, the fee structure will be posted on the Clearinghouse website.

As an owner operator you will need to register for the Clearinghouse and assign a C/TPA to act on your behalf for transactions in the Clearinghouse.  Selecting a C/TPA is required for an employer who employs him/herself as a driver (owner-operator). This can be done starting in October 2019.

Clearinghouse Services will assist you and appoint National Drug Screening as your Consortium/Third Party Administrator (C/TPA) to help you stay compliant with the Clearinghouse reporting requirements for owner operators.  This will include:

  • Requesting your consent for queries
  • Reporting alcohol test violations
  • Reporting refusals to test
  • Reporting on return to duty (RTD) and follow-up testing

Clearinghouse Services will be offering a membership program for owner operators to comply with the Clearinghouse requirements.  This special membership program will include for owner operators:

  • Unlimited consultation for all Clearinghouse matters
  • All employer required query’s and violations reports
  • All-inclusive package for owner operator compliance with Clearinghouse

Your Medical Review Officer (MRO) reviewing your drug test results including your random drug test results will be required to report to the Clearinghouse:

  • Drug test violations
  • MRO verified refusals to test 

It is important to ask your current MRO if he/she will be reporting to the Clearinghouse.  If not, you will need a new MRO. National Drug Screening can provide MRO services in complete compliance with the Clearinghouse rules. Required random testing consortium services are also available from National Drug Screening.