Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse
The Clearinghouse is an online database that houses information on all CDL drivers’ DOT drug and alcohol testing violations under Part 382. It also holds the records of whether a driver has gone through the substance abuse professional’s (SAP’s) assessment and prescribed treatment program, whether the driver has had a negative DOT return-to-duty test, and whether the driver has completed all follow-up tests. Drivers who operate vehicles that require a CDL must be in compliance with Clearinghouse rules.
Do drivers need to register for a Clearinghouse account?
Not all drivers need an account, but a Clearinghouse account is required to:
- Give consent for a current or prospective employer to run full query,
- Designate an SAP in order to begin the SAP evaluation and return-to-duty process, and
- Review their own record in the Clearinghouse and check the information for accuracy.
TIP: Help drivers sign up for a Clearinghouse account during a training session so that you won’t spend time waiting later in the event that you need a driver to grant you consent to conduct a query.
What types of violations are reported to the Clearinghouse?
Employers, medical review officers (MROs), and SAPs are all responsible for submitting information to the Clearinghouse. Violations that will be submitted include:
- Any positive, adulterated, or substituted drug test;
- Any confirmed DOT alcohol test result of 0.04 or higher;
- Any “actual knowledge” that a driver violated the DOT drug or alcohol rules; and
- Any refusal to take a DOT-required drug or alcohol test.
TIP: Review the procedures that will be used at the collection site so your drivers know what to expect in the event they are required to take a drug or alcohol test.
What are the consequences of a DOT drug or alcohol violation?
A driver who commits a drug or alcohol violation will be immediately pulled from performing safety-sensitive functions and provided with a list of SAPs. There are several things that must happen before the driver can resume performing safety-sensitive functions, including:
- Being evaluated by an SAP,
- Completing the treatment and/or education prescribed by the SAP,
- Being re-evaluated by the SAP, and
- Receiving a negative result on a return-to-duty drug and/or alcohol test.
A driver can resume performing safety-sensitive functions after passing the return-to-duty test. However, the driver must still complete the follow-up testing program that is prescribed by the SAP. At a minimum, the driver will need to complete six follow-up tests over 12 months, but the SAP can require follow-up testing for up to five years.
How long does a violation stay in the Clearinghouse?
In order for a driver’s drug or alcohol violation to be removed from the Clearinghouse, all of the following must take place:
- SAP reports assessment and treatment successful,
- Employer reports negative return-to-duty test,
- Current employer reports completion of follow-up tests, and
- Five years have passed since the original violation.
TIP: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) require motor carriers to provide drivers with a copy of the company’s drug and alcohol policy. Though a review of the policy is not required, this would be a good time to review your company’s policy and answer any questions that drivers have.