FMCSA Clearinghouse for all of DOT?

Understanding the FMCSA Clearinghouse: Everything Employers, Owner Operators, and Transportation Companies Need to Know

As an employer, owner operator, or transportation company, it’s important to stay informed about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that provides real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders’ drug and alcohol program violations. But is this Clearinghouse just for FMCSA drivers, or do other agencies have one too? In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the FMCSA Clearinghouse, including how it works, who needs to comply, and whether other agencies have a similar program.

First, let’s take a closer look at the FMCSA Clearinghouse and how it works. As we mentioned earlier, the Clearinghouse is an online database that provides real-time information about CDL and CLP holders’ drug and alcohol program violations. Prior to its establishment in January 2020, employers were required to manually request this information from prior employers, which could take weeks or even months to obtain. The Clearinghouse streamlines this process by providing instant access to this information, allowing employers to quickly determine whether a driver is prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions due to a drug or alcohol program violation.

 But who needs to comply with the Clearinghouse regulations? The FMCSA Clearinghouse applies to all CDL and CLP holders who operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) on public roads, as well as their employers and service agents. This includes owner-operators who are self-employed. Employers are required to conduct pre-employment queries on potential employees, annual queries on current employees, and report any drug and alcohol program violations to the Clearinghouse. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines and even disqualification from operating a CMV.  

Who reports to the Clearinghouse FMCSA?  MRO reports Drug Violations and medical refusals.  Employers or their CTPA report positive alcohols and refusals to take drug or alcohol test.  Employers also report known drug and alcohol use before or during drivers shift.  Lastly, SAPs report when a driver who tested positive is eligible for a Return to Duty Test.  Employers or their CTPA report negative Return to duty and final Follow-up test.  

Now for the question on everyone’s mind – do other agencies have a similar program to the FMCSA Clearinghouse? The answer is yes and no. The Clearinghouse is specific to the FMCSA and its regulations regarding drug and alcohol program violations. However, other agencies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), also have regulations related to drug and alcohol testing. Employers who are subject to these regulations must comply with the reporting and testing requirements specific to each agency, but there is no single clearinghouse like the one established by the FMCSA.  

In addition to providing real-time information about drug and alcohol program violations, the FMCSA Clearinghouse also includes a process for CDL and CLP holders to request the correction of inaccurate information. If a driver believes that their Clearinghouse record contains inaccurate information, they can request that the information be corrected through a formal DataQs process. This allows drivers to ensure that their Clearinghouse record accurately reflects their drug and alcohol program violation history.

The FMCSA Clearinghouse is a vital tool for ensuring that CDL and CLP holders who operate CMVs on public roads are complying with drug and alcohol program regulations. All employers and service agents who are subject to these regulations must comply with the Clearinghouse reporting and querying requirements, regardless of whether they are subject to random drug and alcohol testing. While there is no single clearinghouse that covers all agencies with drug and alcohol testing regulations, employers subject to other agency regulations must comply with the specific requirements for each agency. As always, it’s important to stay informed about these regulations to avoid fines and ensure that your drivers are operating safely on the roads.

If you need assistance with your drug free workplace or with the FMCSA Clearinghouse, we have knowledgeable Support Staff that can help you or der a drug test today or provide information on our FMCSA Clearinghouse that provides all of the policies, forms, training and education needed to comply with the FMCSA Clearinghouse mandates. Contact our Support Staff today at 844-573-8378 or Support