The Basics of FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

As an employer in the transportation industry, it is crucial to comply with federal regulations governing drug and alcohol use by employees. One such important regulation is the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse that was implemented in January 2020. The Clearinghouse serves as an online database for commercial drivers’ alcohol and drug testing records. The system is designed to improve road safety by identifying and preventing drivers who violate drug and alcohol regulations from operating commercial motor vehicles. In this article, we will discuss the basics of FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, including what it is, who needs to comply with it, and how it works.

1. What is FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse?

FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is a secure online database that records drivers’ drug and alcohol testing information. Employers, medical review officers, substance abuse professionals, and enforcement agencies can access the information to verify if a driver has violated drug and alcohol regulations. The Clearinghouse replaces the previous system, which required employers to rely on drivers to report their drug and alcohol testing information and checking with past emplyers. With the Clearinghouse, employers can easily check a driver’s alcohol and drug violations and streamline the hiring process.

2. Who needs to comply with FMCSA Clearinghouse?

Employers, third-party administrators, medical review officers, and substance abuse professionals are required to comply with the Clearinghouse regulations. For example, employers need to register with the Clearinghouse to conduct pre-employment queries for their drivers. It’s important to note that Owner-operators also need to register and create an account in the Clearinghouse to respond to queries from prospective employers.

3. How does Clearinghouse FMCSA work?

The FMCSA Clearinghouse works by collecting information related to drug and alcohol violations by commercial drivers. When a driver receives a DOT drug test violation, the violation is recorded in the Clearinghouse. Employers and enforcement agencies can then access the information to verify if a driver is eligible to drive a commercial motor vehicle. The Clearinghouse also requires drivers to undergo a return-to-duty drug test and follow-up testing before returning to operation after a positive drug test.

4. Return to Duty Testing

If a driver returns to duty after a DOT drug or alcohol violation, they must undergo a return-to-duty drug test. The beauty of the Clearinghouse is that it records the results for five years, allowing employers and other authorized persons to verify compliance with return-to-duty requirements. Employers must also check the Clearinghouse to ensure that the driver has completed all of the required drug and alcohol programs before allowing them to drive a commercial motor vehicle.

5. How to query Clearinghouse FMCSA

Employers and other authorized representatives need to query the Clearinghouse to access an individual driver’s drug and alcohol history. Employers must conduct a full query before hiring a driver, and then check the Clearinghouse annually for existing employees. Employers need to register for an account to conduct queries, and the authorized representative needs to accept an invitation from the employer to begin conducting queries. Once an employer queries the Clearinghouse, they must document their actions and keep the results in their files for three years.  The employer may also delegate these duties to a third party administrator like Workplace Screening Intelligence.


In conclusion, the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is an essential tool designed to improve safety in the transportation industry. Employers, medical review officers, substance abuse professionals, and enforcement agencies need to comply with the Clearinghouse regulations to ensure that drivers are free of drug and alcohol violations before operating commercial motor vehicles. The Clearinghouse provides employers with a streamlined tool to manage the hiring process and to verify their drivers’ compliance with drug and alcohol testing and rehabilitation programs. Workplace Screening Intelligence offers memberships for FMCSA Clearinghouse support to minimize the work employers need to be compliant.  Employers who need to order a drug test today or need assistance with their FMCSA Clearinghouse compliance, can contact Workplace Screening Intelligence at 844-573-8378 or