Why drivers need accounts on drug, alcohol clearinghouse


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is not just for carriers. All CDL holders have to be aware of and may have to use it from time to time, so need to create an account.

The clearinghouse will be a database of drivers who’ve failed or refused a drug test or have been cited for alcohol violations. Starting Jan. 6, 2020, carriers will be required to query the database anytime they hire a driver, as well as once a year for existing drivers.

But, drivers will also need an account for several reasons, and that can be created online. The FMCSA says drivers can use it to:

  • Provide electronic consent to release detailed drug and/or alcohol violation information in your clearinghouse record to a current or prospective employer (when an employer conducts a full query).
  • Review your own clearinghouse record and initiate the process to revise or remove incorrectly entered information.
  • Identify a substance abuse professional to report on return to duty activities, if you have an unresolved drug and alcohol program violation in your clearinghouse record.

While carriers must pay a fee to access the clearinghouse, drivers do not.

The FMCSA says the clearinghouse will end the manual process of carriers having to call drivers’ previous employers to inquire about drug and alcohol tests. However, carriers will need to continue that practice until 2023.

The clearinghouse will show records dating back five years, as well as whether a driver has completed the return to duty status after failing a drug test. If a driver does not complete the return to duty status, the record against him or her will remain in the clearinghouse forever, according to the FMCSA.