What is the Mandate?
The FMCSA’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) main mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. So, they passed the FMCSA Clearinghouse for drug and alcohol use that became effective on January 6th, 2020. The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that provides real-time information on drug and alcohol program violations for drivers with commercial driver’s licenses (CDL drivers). Drivers with commercial learner’s permits (CLPs) are also applicable for the Clearinghouse.
What does this mean for CDL drivers?
Employers, FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and State law enforcement personnel will be able to access the Clearinghouse. Moreover, the database includes all CDL driver drug and alcohol program violations. To clarify, this information could include anything from testing positive for use of specified drugs or refusing to submit to a required alcohol or drug test. (View a list of the most common drug and alcohol program violations here.)
The FMCSA Clearinghouse will make it more difficult for drivers to conceal their drug and alcohol program violations from current or prospective employers. In addition, it will provide valuable information to employers on whether employees are prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions.
What do CDL drivers need to do after January 6th?
Drivers will be required to register for the FMCSA Clearinghouse and respond to consent requests from their current or potential employers. Moreover, it is mandatory for employers to send out these consent requests and for drivers to respond to them. (For more information on responding to consent requests, click here.)
What are the consequences of not responding?
Refusing your consent will prohibit you from operating a commercial motor vehicle and other safety-sensitive functions. In addition, your eligibility to perform safety-sensitive functions, including operating a commercial motor vehicle, will be impacted by your registration. If you have not yet registered in the Clearinghouse, it is imperative that CDL drivers do so in a timely manner.
Why is the FMCSA Clearinghouse necessary?
This database will help employers identify drivers who have drug and alcohol program violations and are not legally permitted to operate commercial motor vehicles. Because real-time access and updates are possible, the FMCSA Clearinghouse will help make roads safer for all drivers and make the hiring process for CDL’s smoother.
This will also allow CDL drivers to view their own records and select a Substance Abuse Professional if needed. And, by staying compliant with the rules of the Clearinghouse, you will be improving safety on our nation’s roadways.