In recognition of National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is reminding employers of CDL drivers about the importance of using the Clearinghouse correctly.
According to an FMCSA release, “driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs puts everyone on the road in danger. Due to their size and weight, crashes involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) have a high risk of injuries and fatalities. Impaired driving and CMVs can be a deadly combination.”
Launched in 2019, the Clearinghouse is a secure, online database of all positive drug or alcohol test results or test refusals by holders of commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) or commercial learner’s permits (CLPs). As of October 2022, more than three million commercial drivers and nearly 700,000 employers and owner-operators have registered with the Clearinghouse. As of November 1, a total of 156, 510 drivers had had at least one violation in the Clearinghouse and 113,995 CDL/CLP holders were in prohibited status.
Employers can help keep unsafe drivers off the road by properly following Clearinghouse guidelines to:
- Conduct annual queries to check if current employees are prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, such as operating CMVs, due to an unresolved drug and alcohol program violation.
- Make pre-employment queries to check if prospective hires are safe.
- Report CDL driver violations. Usually, a Medical Review Officer will report driver violations to the Clearinghouse. In situations where they don’t, it is the employer’s responsibility.
Should you be registered in the Clearinghouse?
If you are an employer of CDL and CLP holders who operate commercial motor vehicles on public roads, you are required to register in the Clearinghouse (even if you are an owner-operator.) This includes employers of:
- Interstate and intrastate motor carriers, including large trucks and motor coaches.
- School bus drivers.
- Construction equipment operators.
- Limousine drivers.
- Municipal vehicle drivers, such as waste management vehicles.
- Federal, State, and local entities that employ drivers subject to FMCSA drug and alcohol use testing regulations (Department of Defense, municipalities, school districts, etc.).
Check the list to make sure you are following the law.
Safety benefits of the Clearinghouse
CDL drivers who have tested positive for drugs or alcohol or have refused to be tested will appear in the Clearinghouse as being in “prohibited” status. This means, that employers must remove these drivers from safety-sensitive duties like driving. Drivers can only return to the roads after completing the return-to-duty process mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
By 2024, as part of new Federal regulations, FMCSA will be partnering with State Driver’s License Agencies (SDLAs) so drivers with violations reported to the Clearinghouse will have their commercial driver’s license revoked until they complete the return-to-duty process.
To learn more about the FMCSA Clearinghouse and what you need to do if you are a CDL or CPL employer, visit clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov. To register for the Clearinghouse, go to clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/Register
If you have any questions or need help with navigating the Clearinghouse, we are here to help. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.