The DOT’s New Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

In December of 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a final rule establishing a new “Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.”

This new rule requires covered employers (e.g. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulated employers) to register with the Clearinghouse on or after January 6, 2020. After registering, covered employers will be required to report information related to violations of the DOT’s drug and alcohol regulations by current and prospective employees to the Clearinghouse by the close of the third business day following the date the employer obtained the information. Among information that must be reported will be:

  • Verified positive, adulterated, or substituted DOT drug test results.
  • DOT alcohol confirmation tests with a concentration of 0.04 or higher.
  • Refusal to submit to any DOT-mandated test.
  • An employer’s actual knowledge of DOT-prohibited alcohol and drug use.

Covered employers will have no obligation to report drug and alcohol use that is not prohibited by DOT rules or to report the results of testing that is not mandated by DOT.

In addition to the foregoing, covered employers will be required to make annual inquiries to the Clearinghouse about current drivers subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing rules. Employers that learn of reportable information from that inquiry will be prohibited from returning the driver to safety-sensitive work until the driver completes the DOT return-to-duty process.

Employers will not be able to perform these inquiries without first obtaining the applicant’s or driver’s written or electronic consent. In addition, before an employer may access records about a driver, the driver will be required to submit electronic consent to the Clearinghouse. If a driver refuses to provide consent to the employer and to the Clearinghouse, the driver may not be permitted to perform DOT safety-sensitive work.

Impact on Employers

At the present time, employers are not required to comply with the new regulations. The Clearinghouse has not been created; therefore, there is no obligation for employers to comply until January 6, 2020.