FMCSA Mandatory Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Now in Effect

As of January 6, 2020, commercial motor vehicle carriers were required to be registered with the new, secure Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Carriers are now required to input all their CDL-holders’ positive drug and alcohol tests, refused tests and return-to-duty testing elements. Carriers are also mandated to query the Clearinghouse for prospective drivers that may have drug and alcohol program violations, and annually query for all drivers to check for any positive tests before a driver is allowed to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) on public roadways.

Furthermore, carriers are required to have consent from their drivers before conducting a driver query of the Clearinghouse. In order to gain consent from drivers, while not required of drivers, those drivers wishing to continue to drive for the carrier will need to register with the Clearinghouse to grant consent and to review their own information. Driver and carrier registration is completed online through FMCSA’s website by clicking here.

Specifically, the elements for the Clearinghouse all carriers and drivers need to know are:

1. This is NOT a proposal, this program was finalized in December 2016 and became effective January 6, 2020.

2. Carriers are required to be registered with the Clearinghouse.

3. Drivers must give consent to employers in one of two ways. Written consent is all that is needed if the employer is only conducting a limited query. Drivers must give consent by registering online if employers are conducting a full query (see #6 below).

4. The Clearinghouse will contain only driver positive drug/alcohol tests, refused tests and the steps completed for the return-to-duty process after a positive test.

5. Information gathered in the Clearinghouse will be nationwide, meaning drivers that move jobs frequently will have information in the Clearinghouse accessible to all current and future carriers from January 6, 2020 moving forward.

6. There are two types of queries that can be performed: full and limited. A full query is required for pre-employment and if a positive test is shown in the Clearinghouse. A limited query is a query by carriers of all their CDL-holders annually, to determine if a positive test is shown in the Clearinghouse.

7. Carriers can use third-party services to both report violations and query their drivers. However, third-party services must be made as the carrier’s designated service agent when the carrier registers and the third-party must be an authorized services registered through FMCSA.

8. Querying the Clearinghouse does have a cost. While single queries cost $1.25 for limited and full queries, carriers can purchase “bundles” of queries based on the carriers needs and number of drivers.

9. Training for personnel with the carrier and drivers will be key for a smooth registration and for maintaining compliance.

Click here for more information on the Clearinghouse, including all requirements, factsheets, query pricing schedules, Frequently Asked Questions and more. You may also contact Gary Mullings at or Kevin Walgenbach at

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