What is “Actual Knowledge” in Trucking?

Actual Knowledge as defined by 49 CFR §382.107

Actual knowledge for the purpose of subpart B of this part, means actual knowledge by an employer that a driver has used alcohol or controlled substances based on the employer’s direct observation of the employee, information provided by the driver’s previous employer(s), a traffic citation for driving a CMV while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances or an employee’s admission of alcohol or controlled substance use, except as provided in § 382.121. Direct observation as used in this definition means observation of alcohol or controlled substances use and does not include observation of employee behavior or physical characteristics sufficient to warrant reasonable suspicion testing under § 382.307.. As used in this section, “traffic citation” means a ticket, complaint, or other document charging driving a CMV while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.

When should a motor carrier employer report an Actual Knowledge violation?

The information below provides guidelines of when an actual Knowledge violation should be reported to the FMCSA Clearinghouse.

What are the consequences of an Actual Knowledge Violation?

truck driver on phone with trucks in background
  1. The driver must immediately be removed from their safety-sensitive position.
  2. The Actual Knowledge violation must be reported to the FMCSA Clearinghouse within 3 business days. The violation will also need to be reported to any prospective employers requesting information through the 3-year previous employer check.
  3. The driver must complete the Return to Duty (RTD) Process before returning to a safety-sensitive position.
  4. The driver’s CDL may be downgraded if attempting to renew or upgrade their CDL before completing the RTD Process

What information is needed to report an Actual Knowledge violation?

Can a positive result on non-DOT test be reported as Actual Knowledge?

No, an employer cannot use a positive non-DOT test as Actual Knowledge reportable to the FMCA Clearinghouse.

If you have any questions regarding Actual Knowledge or the FMCSA Clearinghouse please visit Clearinghouse Services or give us a call at 877-345-2425.