FMCSA encouraging drivers to register for Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

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The federal CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which will be a database of truck drivers who have failed or refused a drug or alcohol test, takes effect in January 2020, the date when carriers will be required to begin uploading notices of failed driver drug tests and querying the data base when making driver hires.

Drivers will need to be registered as users within the Clearinghouse to apply for driving jobs and to ensure their records are accurate. Drivers can begin registering in October.

Joe DeLorenzo, director of enforcement and compliance of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, spoke Thursday at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, alongside Larry Minor, FMCSA’s associate administrator for policy.

The Clearinghouse will record all drug test failures conducted for pre-employment screenings, random drug tests and post-crash tests, says DeLorenzo. Carriers will be required to submit failed tests to the Clearinghouse, and they’ll be required to query the database before hiring drivers to ensure they haven’t failed a drug test in the previous three years. Carriers will also have to pay a small fee for accessing the database, though DeLorenzo says it will be menial.

The onus will be on drivers to register within the Clearinghouse so that they can consent to allowing carriers to query the database for their records, says DeLorenzo. Registration is slated to begin in October, he said, and it is required for any driver looking to a new driving job in January 2020 and later.

Though registration and consent to queries are only required when a driver is beginning a new job, DeLorenzo encouraged all drivers and owner-operators to register as users to ensure their testing information is accurate. Also included in the Clearinghouse will be whether drivers completed the return-to-duty process if they have failed a drug test.

Only positive tests will be filed to the clearinghouse, and no information will be available about negative tests, he said. But should any inaccurate information be uploaded to the Clearinghouse, registered users will know and can file a DataQ request to correct it.

For independent owner-operators, however, registration isn’t as much a necessity, since they’re not part of hiring processes.

The Clearinghouse rule was finalized in 2016 after Congress mandated the rule within the 2012 MAP-21 highway law.