Who Uses the Clearinghouse?

Who are the users for the new Clearinghouse also known as Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse?  The users include:

  • Employers
  • Drivers
  • Medical Review Officers (MRO)
  • Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP)
  • Consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs)   

All of these users must register in the Clearinghouse to access the Clearinghouse database.  Clearinghouse registration is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019.  

Employers and the Clearinghouse

An employer representative must register in the Clearinghouse.  This employer representative will be the designated administrator for the Clearinghouse and this administrator can assign other employer representatives to access the Clearinghouse Database.  The employer representative can also assign Consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPA) in the Clearinghouse to work in the Clearinghouse on behalf of the employer. The C/TPA will need to be registered in the Clearinghouse in order for the employer to designate the C/TPA in the Clearinghouse to act on behalf of the employer. 

Owner operators are employers as well as drivers and must use the services of a C/TPA in the Clearinghouse.  The owner operator must designate the C/TPA in the Clearinghouse.

Employer activities in the Clearinghouse include:

  • Reporting alcohol tests at 0.04 or above 
  • Reporting alcohol test refusals
  • Reporting violations of known (actual knowledge) use of drugs or alcohol in violation of DOT and FMCSA regulations
  • Reporting the negative result of a return to duty test
  • Reporting the completion (date) of SAP required follow up testing   

Employers must make the reports by the close of the third business day following the date on which the employer obtained the information.

Employers and Queries

Employers have the responsibility of querying the Clearinghouse database when hiring a new driver to ensure the driver has not had a previous violation and not completed the SAP return to duty process.  The driver must register and provide consent for the query.

Employers have the responsibility of performing an annual query for all currently employed drivers.  For the first year 2020, it is recommended this be done towards the end of the year. A limited query can be performed and if any information comes up then a full query is required.  The driver consent for a limited query can be an internal consent while the driver consent for the full query must be in the Clearinghouse. 

Drivers and the Clearinghouse 

Drivers are not required to register in the Clearinghouse but must register in order to perform activities in the Clearinghouse.  These activities include:

  • Providing consent for a query 
  • Reviewing their driver information housed in the Clearinghouse
  • Filing a petition to challenge the accuracy of the information on the driver that is housed in the Clearinghouse
  • When a violation occurs, the driver must identify the substance abuse professional (SAP) that the driver will see for the return to duty process 

Medical Review Officers (MRO) and the Clearinghouse

The MRO or medical review officer has significant and important duties in the Clearinghouse.  The MRO is required to report to the Clearinghouse any DOT drug test positive result and any MRO determined refusal to test.  The refusal to test reporting includes test results reported as substituted or adulterated (indicating potential cheating on the test).  The MRO has 2 business days to report into the Clearinghouse once the final test result is verified and reported.  

MRO’s also have a responsibility within one business day to report any changes of results previously reported to Clearinghouse.  If for any reason a result was reported as negative and it changes to positive; the MRO would then be required to report this change.   

The information the MRO is required to report to the Clearinghouse for a DOT drug test violation is as follows:

  • Date of the test and date of the verified result; Reason for the test; along with the test result
  • In the case of an adulterated specimen, the adulterant substance and reason for the adulterant determination must be reported
  • Federal Drug Testing Chain of Custody Form (CCF) specimen ID number;
  • Driver’s name, commercial driver’s license (CDL) number and State of issuance, and date of birth;
  • Employer’s name, address, and USDOT Number, if applicable;

Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP) and the Clearinghouse

The SAP must enter specific information regarding the driver’s return-to-duty (RTD) activities.  Specifically, the SAP must report:

  • Driver information including Driver’s name, date of birth, commercial driver’s license (CDL) number, and State of issuance;
  • Date of initial assessment starting out the return to duty process; and
  • Date the SAP determined the driver demonstrated successful compliance with education and treatment requirements and is eligible for return-to-duty (RTD) testing.

Once the driver completes the SAP program with successful compliance with education and treatment requirements and released by the SAP; a return to duty test and follow up testing are required for the driver to enter into and continue performing DOT safety sensitive duties.

Consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs) and the Clearinghouse  

The Consortia/third-party administrator (C/TPA) can perform Clearinghouse activities on behalf of the employer.  For the owner operator, both an employer and a driver; The C/TPA is required to act on the owner operator’s behalf.  Employers must designate the C/TPA to act on their behalf in the Clearinghouse.

The first step for the C/TPA is to register in the Clearinghouse.  Employers may then designate a C/TPA(s) who can report violations and perform queries on their behalf. An owner-operator is an employer that employs himself or herself as a CDL driver and must designate the C/TPA in the Clearinghouse for reporting violations.  Queries can be performed by the owner operator or he/she can designate the C/TPA to perform queries.

Help with the Clearinghouse is Available Clearinghouse Services Inc. is a private entity to help Clearinghouse users with their responsibilities in the Clearinghouse.  Services are available for employers, drivers, MRO’s, SAP’s and C/TPA’s. Membership programs are available for employers and Service Agents (MRO, SAP, and C/TPA).  Assistance for drivers is A La Carte.