What is the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse?

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Why was the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Created?

In 2012, Congress directed the Secretary of Transportation to establish a national Clearinghouse containing CMV operators’ violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program. This information collection supports the DOT Strategic Goal of Safety by ensuring that drivers are qualified to operate trucks and buses on our nation’s highways.

What is the purpose of the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse?

The purpose of the clearinghouse is to prevent CDL holders with positive drug and alcohol test results, refused required drug and alcohol tests, or who have not undergone return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process from job-hopping (moving to different states where the results do not follow them) – making it harder to hire these drivers and keeping the roads safer.

The clearinghouse will be a secure online database that will allow FMCSA, CMV employers, state driver licensing agencies, and law enforcement agencies to identify, in real-time, CDL drivers who have violated federal drug and alcohol testing program requirements.  Click the following link for more info – Drug & Alcohol Testing Program

The clearinghouse database will provide access to real-time information, ensuring that drivers committing these violations complete the necessary steps before getting back behind the wheel, or performing any other safety-sensitive function.

What is the timeline for the Clearinghouse?

According to the new website, Fall 2019 is when registration begins for the clearinghouse where users can establish an account that will allow access to the clearinghouse once it becomes operational on January 6, 2020.

Based on the website launch, the database seems to be on track for the January 6, 2020 implementation and mandatory use of the Clearinghouse to report and query information about driver drug and alcohol program violations goes into effect.

Employers will be required to both query the Clearinghouse and request drug and alcohol testing histories from previous employers (going back 3 years) until January 6, 2023.  At that point, the clearinghouse query will replace the need for an employer to request histories from previous employers.

What types of drivers and employers will the Clearinghouse affect?

It will affect all CDL drivers who operate CMVs on public roads and their employers and service agents.  This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Interstate and intrastate motor carriers, including passenger carriers
  • School bus drivers
  • Construction equipment operators
  • Limousine drivers
  • Municipal vehicle drivers
  • Federal and state agencies that employ drivers subject to FMCSA drug and alcohol use testing regulations

What information will be reported to the Clearinghouse database?

  • A verified positive, adulterated, or substituted controlled substance test.
  • A refusal to test (includes failure to appear)
  • A verified positive alcohol test above .04
  • DUI citation in a CMV
  • DUI conviction in a CMV
  • Actual knowledge of illicit alcohol or drug use
  • Negative return-to-duty
  • Completion of follow up

What do you need to do today to prepare for Jan. 6, 2020?

Motor Carriers

  • Must register authority with Clearinghouse, starting Fall 2019.
  • Be sure CDL information (number and state of origin) is in driver file and easily accessible.
  • Make changes to onboarding information that includes consent from drivers to do an initial detailed query, and include the details for which an employer will report results to the Clearinghouse.
  • Train DERs and safety officers on the required documentation for reporting “actual knowledge” of drugs or alcohol use while operating a CMV.
  • Update controlled substance policy to reflect clearinghouse-related requirements.
  • Revise annual review process to include CLGH check.


  • Be prepared to use your CDL Number when testing.
  • Employers will require you to give consent whenever needed to run a full query.
  • Refusing to give consent will result in not being able to perform safety sensitive functions with that employer.
  • Register with clearinghouse to make your data available to motor carriers.

What are some good resources to access regarding the Clearinghouse?

The Clearinghouse Website – https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/commercial-drivers-license-drug-and-alcohol-clearinghouse – This provides information about the Clearinghouse, including a fact sheet and implementation timeline.  CMV stakeholders can also sign up to receive clearinghouse-related email updates during the implementation process.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse – https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Drug%20and%20Alcohol%20Clearinghouse%20FAQs_508.pdf


  1. FMCSA Website.
  2. “FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Registration Begins Fall 2019 For 2020 Implementation”, Lucas Kibby, CleanFleet.


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