New Rules: Drug & Alcohol Clearing House

Legislation for the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse comes into effect on January 6th, 2020. If you haven’t had a look at this new legislation, you can check it out at

For Drivers and Owner Operators, there are several key components that you should be familiar with. The Clearinghouse final rule does not change any of the existing requirements in Part 40, the DOT-wide procedures for workplace drug and alcohol testing. It is simply a central location for compiling results of those tests that is intended to streamline the process for employers and prospective employers to obtain real-time information about driver drug and alcohol violations.

Employers will be required to report the following violations to the Clearinghouse:

  • All drug and alcohol program violations;
  • A negative return-to-duty test result;
  • The driver’s refusal to submit to a DOT test for drug or alcohol use;
  • An “actual knowledge” violation, as defined in §382.107, and;
  • A report that the driver successfully completed all follow-up tests as ordered by the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).

There is an administrative process for Drivers to request corrections on their Clearinghouse record (§382.717). Drivers may challenge only the accuracy of the information reported, not the accuracy or validity of test results or refusals.

Employers of CDL drivers must conduct pre-employment queries through electronic requests for information to determine whether prospective hires have unresolved drug or alcohol violations that prohibit them from performing safety-sensitive functions. (A full query that requires the driver’s specific consent before information can be released)

Employers are also obligated to query the Clearinghouse annually to determine whether current employees have incurred drug or alcohol violations while working for another employer. (A limited query that requires only a driver’s general consent before information can be released).

While both queries require the Driver’s consent before information can be released, it is important to note that Drivers who refuse to provide consent are not eligible to perform a safety-sensitive function.

Owner Operators are subject to the requirements pertaining to employers as well as those pertaining to Drivers. Under the Clearinghouse final rule, an employer who employs themselves as a Driver must also designate a consortium/third party administrator to comply with the employer’s Clearinghouse reporting requirements.

Drivers who are looking to switch jobs must register in the Clearinghouse so that prospective employers are able to complete the required query.

Drivers registered with the Clearinghouse will be able to:

  • Log into the Clearinghouse to electronically provide consent to requests from prospective or current employers needing to access full details of any drug or alcohol violations;
  • Log in at any time to view their individual Driver record and;
  • Engage a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP). A Driver must identify the SAP in the Clearinghouse to initiate the return-to-duty (RTD) process.

Drivers can choose a notification method (email or mail). Any time information on the Driver within the Clearinghouse is added, revised or removed, the Driver will be notified.

Rick Geller, CRM
Director of Safety and Risk Management Services
Telephone: 204-985-1777