What is the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse?

Here we will be learning about the drug and alcohol clearinghouse within the trucking industry. Not to be confused with a drug consortium, which is an association of companies or groups of employers that join together, as a single entity, for the purpose of Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol testing of its members. You can find this program online at https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov to find out more information and up to date specifics. This is a feature of the industry that can greatly impact a driver’s ability to get and/or keep a job due to your actions in relationship to the commercial driver’s license drug and alcohol policies. To be specific, the Clearinghouse is a secure online database that gives employers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs), and State law enforcement personnel real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders drug and alcohol program violations. The Clearinghouse contains records of violation information of drug and alcohol prohibitions in 49 CFR Part 382, Subpart B, including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. When a driver completes the return-to-duty (RTD) process and follow-up testing plan, this information is also recorded in the Clearinghouse.

What Information will be in the Clearinghouse?

The answer here is actually quite simple; Any drug or alcohol use violation will be presented within the clearinghouse. However, to give some comfort this is not just public information and does remain within a secure online database. With that being said the data included here will list such specifics as any and all drug or alcohol testing, alcohol program violations as well as the test results. If you are asked to take a drug test but do not comply that would also show up under test refusals. Types of queries are also listed all within real-time information.

How Will This Information be Used?

The information in the FMCSA drug and alcohol clearinghouse is used for many reasons within the trucking industry, but all tie back to keeping the public roads and truck drivers safer through this drug and alcohol testing program. A clearinghouse record is kept for all CDL drivers of a commercial motor vehicle. Whether it is the Department of Transportation (DOT) monitoring current employees of companies or a pre-employment screening of prospective employees through third party administrators, the clearinghouse is intended to be a major asset to knowing the background of your CDL drivers that you are trusting on the road with your goods and or equipment. So essentially this information is used to make determinations on owner-operators and other commercial drivers that would affect them keeping or losing their CDL or against private company standards; these results could affect their employment standing.

Who Must Register in the Clearinghouse?

In this article we have covered a broad overview of the clearinghouse and how it works, but who needs to be registered for it? Simply put, all commercial drivers currently working in the trucking industry need to be actively registered for the clearinghouse to be in compliance.

If this is a topic you would like further information on, one of our trucking expert team members would be happy to assist you. Give them a call today at 913-393-6110.