FMCSA D&A Clearinghouse: What Changes on January 6, 2023?

December 13, 2022 | Jenni Gray

It’s been almost three years since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched its Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. In January, employers will need to adjust their process to obtain D&A violation results. But what changes – and what stays the same?

 

FMCSA D&A Clearinghouse Background

The FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse is a centralized database of drug and alcohol violations by Commercial Driver’s License or Commercial Learner’s Permit (CDL/CLP) drivers. The Clearinghouse is available to employers, state driver’s licensing agencies (SDLAs), law enforcement, and drivers themselves.

In a final rule published December 5, 2016, the FMCSA established the requirement to create a nationwide CDL Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse had to be developed and ready for use by January 6, 2020.

The development of a centralized database of drug & alcohol violations, including positive test results or test refusals, helps keep our roads safer by allowing employers to more easily recognize when an applicant has had a violation.

The online system allows employers to fulfill their obligation to the FMCSA and to public safety much more quickly, and it reduces gaps and loopholes that would previously occur, such as:

  • When a driver left a previous employer off of their job application in an attempt to conceal a drug & alcohol violation
  • When a previous employer is no longer operating, and therefore unable to respond to a drug & alcohol violation request

 

The Clearinghouse allows employers to view when a driver has completed the Return-to-Duty process after a violation, indicating “Not Prohibited” once the driver has completed all required follow-up testing.

It would also eventually eliminate the burden on employers to check with each individual previous employer of an applicant for violations.

Additionally, the Clearinghouse allows employers to select a consortia/third-party administrator (C/TPA) to process Clearinghouse queries on the employer’s behalf, further reducing the burden on employers.

 

What’s changing?

When the Clearinghouse launched in 2020, employers were required to query the Clearinghouse for D&A violations, in addition to checking with each of a driver’s previous employers. Employers were also required to begin reporting their employees’ drug & alcohol violations to the Clearinghouse. After three years, employers would no longer need to check with an applicant’s previous employers – they would only need to check the Clearinghouse.

Beginning Jan. 6, 2023, employers no longer have to check with a driver’s individual previous employers for drug & alcohol violations.

 

What’s staying the same?

The employer’s obligation to check the Clearinghouse has not changed. Employers should continue to:

  • Conduct a full query of the Clearinghouse during the onboarding process when bringing on a new CDL driver.
  • Conduct a limited query of all CDL drivers annually.
  • Report all violations to the Clearinghouse.
  • Obtain driver consent when running a query.
  • Record progress on a driver’s Return-to-Duty process, including follow-up testing or violations that are unresolved.

 

Offload your Clearinghouse Queries

Cisive can process your FMCSA D&A Clearinghouse full and limited queries for you. Employers should designate Cisive as a consortia/third-party administrator (C/TPA). Then, you may designate the functions Cisive should complete on your company’s behalf.

Detailed instructions to do so can be found here.

If you have any questions about the FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, contact your Client Success Team or use this form to get in touch with us.

 

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