Privacy and the DOT Clearinghouse

Lindsey Bergeron

NOVEMBER 5, 2019 – With the DOT Clearinghouse now open for registration, the online system is already starting to collect personal information about drivers, employers and others tasked with creating an account. From addresses, to birth dates to CDL numbers, drivers must input a variety of private details into their accounts. Within the next few months, sensitive information related to drug and alcohol testing violations will also begin to appear.

The question many are asking is this: how will this information stay protected?

The DOT answered these privacy issues in a Notice that was published late last month in the Federal Register. The public now has until November 21 to review and submit comments on the Notice if there are questions or concerns about the plan for keeping users’ information safe.

Here are a few of the big takeaways from the publication.

 What Information Will be Available?

Driver details, including name, date of birth, contact information, CLP/CDL number and their eligibility status will all be available in the Clearinghouse. Specifically, this will include:

  • Name
  • Physical address, phone number and email address
  • Date of birth
  • Current and previous CLP or CDL license numbers, the state of issuance and expiration date
  • Drug and alcohol test and violation information, including the employer’s name, address and USDOT number
  • CMV driving eligibility status
  • The driver’s Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) selection, including the SAP’s name, address and phone number
  • Actual knowledge report information, including the violation details and documentation to support the allegations
  • Failure to appear and refusal to test detail information, including documentation regarding notification of test requirement and documentation of termination or resignation
  • Return-to-duty eligibility date and negative test result
  • Follow-up testing plan completion information
  • Query information, including who requested the query and when it was conducted
  • Query consent information, including the driver’s approval or refusal

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How Long Will it Be Available For?

Records in the Clearinghouse will be available for five years if the violation is resolved and the driver has completed the return-to-duty process. After this point, records will be archived for additional six years in a separate location before being destroyed.

For unresolved violations, the data will remain in the Clearinghouse for 70 years.

How Will Data be Retrieved?

Authorized users of the Clearinghouse will be able to look up a driver’s record by entering the CDL holder’s name, date of birth, license number and the state of issuance.

Related Article: How the DOT Clearinghouse Will Impact Your Compliance Programs 

Who Has Access to the Clearinghouse?

Safety-sensitive drivers, employers, Substance Abuse Professionals, Medical Review Officers and state licensing agencies will have access to the Clearinghouse. In addition, the FMCSA is recommending that partner agencies of the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program also have access to “support enforcement of drug and alcohol use and testing regulations.”

You can read the full Federal Register notice here.

Because of the confidential information included in the Clearinghouse, users must adhere to both the requirements of the Privacy Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when accessing a driver’s information – and this starts with the required consents. To learn more about this process, as well as how Foley can help keep you compliant with your new Clearinghouse requirements, please give us a call at (860) 815-0762 or visit us online.

FREE Webinar on Clearinghouse Compliance

About the Author

Lindsey Bergeron is Editor of the Foley blog. Serving as transportation guru, she keeps an eye on the industry and its day-to-day evolution and developments, specifically writing about the various lifestyle, business and regulatory topics that are most relevant to motor carriers. Holding a degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Connecticut, she ran a successful content marketing firm before joining Foley at its Hartford hub. Her current expertise in transportation writing is built upon an extensive background in editing, feature writing and content development.

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