What is the Clearinghouse?

The Clearinghouse final rule published December 5, 2016, established a national Clearinghouse that will be a database containing CDL drivers’ drug and alcohol program violations and whether a driver has successfully completed the mandatory return-to-duty drug and/or alcohol process with the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).

There are two main categories of Clearinghouse requirements which are querying and reporting. 

Clearinghouse Querying

Employers will be required to query the Clearinghouse for covered drivers for two purposes:

  • Pre-employment screening
  • Annual verification

The purpose of pre-employment queries will be to ensure that the prospective employees are eligible to drive.  These will be full queries which means that FMCSA must verify specific driver consent prior to releasing information. 

Annual queries will need to be performed at least once within a 365-day period to ensure that a driver did not violate the drug and alcohol program with another employer.  These will be limited queries to determine whether any data exists for a driver and will only require general driver consentIf the limited query shows a driver record in the Clearinghouse, the employer would be required to run a full query on that driver, triggering FMCSA verification of specific driver consent before releasing information.  Drivers need to be registered in the Clearinghouse to provide consent.

Other parties authorized to Query the Clearinghouse database will be State driver licensing agencies and The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).  

Clearinghouse Reporting

Multiple parties will be required to report drug and alcohol testing program violations to the Clearinghouse.  These parties will include medical review officers (MRO’s), employers and consortia/their party administrators (C/TPA’s).  For drivers that are undergoing the mandatory return-to-duty drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation process, substance abuse professionals (SAP’s) will be required to report to the Clearinghouse. When a driver completes the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan, the employer will report this information in the Clearinghouse.   

Cost of the Clearinghouse Reporting and Clearinghouse Querying

Drivers can access the Clearinghouse to view their own records, there will be no fees for driver access.  There will be fees for queries. As of summer of 2019, FMCSA has not announced a fee structure for queries.  These will not be a fee to FMCSA for reporting up into the Clearinghouse. However, it is more than likely that MRO’s and C/TPA’s will charge employers a fee for the reporting of violations which the MRO’s and C/TPA’s are required to make into the Clearinghouse. 

www.Clearinghouseservices.com is your resource for all things Clearinghouse, we provide assistance to employers with your required querying and required reporting.