Federal agencies Drugs Bus/limo/taxi Trucking Transportation

FMCSA opens registration for database of CMV drivers who fail drug, alcohol tests

Photo: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Washington — Registration is open for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a national online database intended to provide – in real time – the names of commercial motor vehicle drivers who have failed drug and alcohol tests.

Authorized users, including carriers, drivers, third-party administrators, medical review officers and substance abuse professionals, must register to access the clearinghouse – slated for full implementation Jan. 6. Registration is secure, the agency claims.

According to FMCSA, motor carriers will be able to search the clearinghouse for information regarding current and prospective employees who may have unresolved violations that prohibit them from driving. Employers and medical review officers will be required to report information about drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol, or who refuse to comply with drug and alcohol testing. Substance abuse professionals are required to report information about drivers who participate in the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process.

Federal regulations require carriers to conduct preemployment drug testing in addition to random testing. Employees who test positive are prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, which includes operating a CMV.

“As this congressional mandate is enacted, FMCSA’s goal is to ensure drivers, employers and everyone who will be using the clearinghouse are registered as efficiently and effectively as possible,” FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez said in an Oct. 1 press release. “FMCSA is here to be helpful during this implementation, and we strongly encourage all CMV stakeholders to get registered in the clearinghouse now.”

An FMCSA driver brochure offers additional insight into the agency’s recommendation to register this fall.

“Beginning Jan. 6, 2020, employers of [commercial driver’s license] drivers must query the clearinghouse to verify that a current or prospective driver is not prohibited from operating CMVs or performing other safety-sensitive functions due to an unresolved drug and alcohol program violation,” the brochure states.

“While clearinghouse registration is not required for all drivers, you will need to be registered to view your own clearinghouse record electronically, or to provide electronic consent for a current or prospective employer to conduct a full query (including a preemployment query) in the clearinghouse. Failing to consent to a query will result in a driver being prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions for the employer conducting the query.”

FMCSA published the final rule establishing the clearinghouse on Dec. 5, 2016. The rule took effect Jan. 4, 2017.

“Drug and alcohol violation records maintained in the clearinghouse will ‘follow’ the driver, regardless of how many times he or she changes employers, seeks employment or applies for a CDL in a different state,” the rule states. “The clearinghouse will be administered and maintained in strict compliance with applicable federal security standards.”

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