JANUARY 8, 2020 – The DOT Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse became fully operational this week. This regulation impacts everyone who must comply with DOT drug and alcohol regulations, including safety-sensitive employers, drivers, Third Party Administrators, Substance Abuse Professionals and Medical Review Officers.
The Clearinghouse is a federal database of CDL holders who have had a drug and/or alcohol violation. As of Monday, January 6, if a driver receives a non-negative pre-employment test result, or tests positive for alcohol use during a reasonable suspicion test (for example), that information must be entered into the database under that driver’s record.
Now that the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is in effect, the following must happen:
- Employers must query the Clearinghouse both before hiring a new CDL driver and then annually throughout their employment
- Third Party Administrators, employers and Medical Review Officers will be required to report all DOT drug and alcohol violations to the Clearinghouse for FMCSA-regulated drivers
- Employers and Substance Abuse Professionals will be required to update a driver’s Clearinghouse record about their progress through the return-to-duty and follow-up testing process
It’s important to keep in mind that because the Clearinghouse will only house violation data that occurs on or after the January 6 effective date, employers will still be required to complete the prior employment verification to get a full, three-year drug and alcohol testing history for the drivers they query.
Are You Prepared?
If you haven’t yet taken steps to prepare for the DOT Clearinghouse, you’ll want to do get started now. The first step, is to create an account and designate a Third Party Administrator to manage your Clearinghouse responsibilities. You’ll also need to update your DOT drug and alcohol policy, create a plan for running the required queries and ensure your drivers are registered and trained in using the Clearinghouse (they’ll need to provide electronic consent before a full query can be run).
You can learn more about your responsibilities in the Clearinghouse by downloading our infographic.
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.