Risk & Safety

FMCSA Clearinghouse 101

Sam Bowman
FMCSA Clearinghouse 101
Reading time 3 Mins
Published on Jun 2

As many of you know (or may not know), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Clearinghouse became operational on January 6, 2020, and FMCSA-regulated employers had to be ready to comply with the Clearinghouse requirements on that date.

What is the FMCSA Clearinghouse?

The Clearinghouse is a secure online database that gives employers, the FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and State law enforcement personnel real-time information about CDL driver drug and alcohol program violations, thereby enhancing safety on our Nation’s roadways.

An act of Congress directed the Secretary of Transportation to establish the Clearinghouse. This database stores all drug and alcohol testing results, positive or negative, taken from FMCSA chain of custody forms and will also show any substance abuse/follow-up program statuses for CDL holders.

The Clearinghouse also requires the following:

  • Employers must query the Clearinghouse for current and prospective employees’ drug and alcohol program violations before permitting those employees to operate a commercial motor vehicle on public roads.
  • Employers are required to query the Clearinghouse annually for each driver they currently employ.

What Information is in The Clearinghouse?

The Clearinghouse rule requires FMCSA-regulated employers, Medical Review Officers, Substance Abuse Professionals, consortia/third-party administrators, and other service agents to report to the Clearinghouse information related to violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing regulations by current and prospective employees.

All CDL Employers with or without a DOT number are required to:

  • Register
  • Run Pre-employment/Annual Inquires
  • Develop Consent Forms
  • Update Federal Drug and Alcohol Policy
  • Educate CDL Holders
  • Compliant Return-to-Duty or Termination Policy and Procedure

Below is a sample of the violations tracked within the Clearinghouse:

  • Report for duty/remain on duty for safety-sensitive function with alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater or while using any drug specified in the regulations (Part 40), other than those prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner
  • Alcohol use while performing, or within four hours of performing, a safety-sensitive function
  • Alcohol use within eight hours of an accident or until the post-accident test is completed, whichever occurs first
  • Test positive for use of specified drugs
  • Refusing to submit to a required alcohol or drug test

How Can I Make Sure I am Compliant?

One of the first steps you can take to ensure you’re compliant is to contact Sheakley’s DOT experts.

We’ll provide you with a quick assessment of your current transportation program, including identifying any problematic areas, outlining action steps for improvement, and addressing any questions or concerns you may have.

For more information on FMCSA, DOT, and workplace safety and compliance, bookmark our blog and follow Sheakley on social media.

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