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Countdown to the DOT Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse
Foley
5 mins read

SEPTEMBER 3, 2019 – Are you ready for the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse?

In just a few short months this important regulatory change will go into effect – bringing with it a new set of responsibilities for safety-sensitive drivers and motor carriers, as well as the Third Party Administrators and Medical Review Officers who manage the details of their testing program.

Although we’re waiting on an exact date from the FMCSA, registration for the Clearinghouse is scheduled to open next month. Before that happens, it’s important to understand what your responsibilities will be as a driver or motor carrier so that you can make sure you’re prepared before the January deadline.

What is the DOT Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse?

The Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse is an online database that will house drivers’ non-negative drug and alcohol test results, as well as information about their participation in a return-to-duty program. Employers will be required to check this database before hiring a new safety-sensitive driver, as well as annually for the remainder of each driver’s employment. All information regarding drug and alcohol violations will stay publicly available in the Clearinghouse for five years or until the return-to-duty process is complete (whichever is later).

Employers: What You Need to Do Now

Once registration opens, you’ll be required to register for the Clearinghouse so that you’ll have the ability to conduct queries and report drug and alcohol violations when the Clearinghouse goes into effect.  You’ll also need to designate your Third Party Administrator (TPA) so they have access to your account and can conduct queries on your behalf. Please note that for owner-operators, this is not an optional step.

By registering for an account and designating a TPA now, you’ll be ready to begin using the database when it becomes required on January 6, 2020. If you have a DOT#, you can register right from your FMCSA Portal account.

Join Our FREE Webinar on Clearinghouse Compliance! Sign Up Today

Drivers: What You Need to Do Now

If you’re a safety-sensitive driver, you’ll be required to create a Clearinghouse account where employers can both report and check for drug and alcohol violations (you’ll need to give consent within the portal before they can pull a full report). Your account will also allow you to review your Clearinghouse record at any time to see if any violations have been reported by an employer. If you find information that is inaccurate, you’ll have an opportunity to have it removed.

Once you register for a Clearinghouse account, you’ll also be able to login to give employers consent prior to running a full query of your record. If you receive a drug and alcohol violation in the future, you’ll also be able to select a SAP from within your account. This allows them to update your record with information on your return-to-duty program.

If you’re an owner-operator, keep in mind that you will be required to designate a TPA to manage your drug and alcohol testing program within the Clearinghouse.

Preparing for the Road Ahead

Related Article: Understanding the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Although employers and drivers will have responsibilities within the Clearinghouse once the regulation goes into effect, for now, the best thing both parties can do is to create an account and register a TPA so that everything is ready to go come January. Over the next few months, we’ll continue to educate you about your specific responsibilities as an employer and/or driver so that you have all of the information needed to operate compliantly in this new regulatory environment. 

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