Starting April 1, 2020 enforcement personnel who stop drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) for a driver/vehicle examination (roadside inspection) will check to see if the driver is prohibited from operating due to an unresolved issue in the FMCSA Clearinghouse. The enforcement office will clearly see if a driver is prohibited from operating under 382.501(a) – Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
This violation will be an out-of-service condition and the driver will be placed out of service if found in a prohibited status. A prohibited status means the driver had a previous drug & alcohol testing program violation and the driver did not complete the return to duty process to clear this violation. The out-of-service violation is very serious as the driver and the commercial motor vehicle are removed from the roadway until the violation is corrected.
This information comes from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s updated 2020 North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria (OOSC). As reported in Overdrive magazine February 26, 2020 News Roundup – “Perhaps the most significant change has to do with additional out-of-service criteria related to drivers who fail a drug test reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new drug and alcohol Clearinghouse database and who are required to complete return-to-duty procedures to get clearance to haul again.”
Law enforcement officials doing inspections will not have direct access to the Clearinghouse but rather will be able to determine driver eligibility status in Query Central, Nlets and CDLIS Gateway. These systems allow enforcement users to access CDL data.
The FMCSA Clearinghouse went into effect on January 6, 2020 and tracks driver violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration drug & alcohol testing program. This includes positive drug tests, positive alcohol tests, actual knowledge and refusals to test. Employers hiring drivers must check the Clearinghouse and are prohibited from hiring drivers who have open violations in the Clearinghouse.
Clearing Clearinghouse Violations
In order to clear up a violation that has been reported to the Clearinghouse, a driver must complete the return to duty process. This involves an evaluation by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP). Treatment and educational programs are then prescribed and upon completion the driver has a final evaluation with the SAP. With the final evaluation the SAP releases the driver for return for duty with a required schedule of follow up testing. The employer now hiring the employee or allowing the driver to come back to work must then require a negative return to duty drug test. The results of the negative return to duty drug test must be reported to the Clearinghouse. Upon completion of the follow up testing schedule, the employer must report this completion to the Clearinghouse. This process clears up the violation that was previously reported to the Clearinghouse.
Expert professional assistance with the FMCSA Clearinghouse is available, call (877) 345-2425.
Driver Assistance – https://clearinghouseservices.com/driver-clearinghouse-services/
Employer Assistance – https://clearinghouseservices.com/employer-memberships/