FMCSA reminds truckers drug, alcohol clearinghouse coming soon

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The clearinghouse will be a professional truck driver database that will serve as a centralized record of all failed drug or alcohol tests, whether from pre-employment screenings, post-crash tests or random. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

Remember two years ago, when it seemed like the entire trucking industry was counting down the days to the ELD deadline?

Well, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wants drivers to be aware of another countdown happening right now, although with much less hoopla than the Great ELD Panic of ’17.

At the recent Mid-America Trucking Show, Joe DeLorenzo, FMCSA director of enforcement and compliance, gave a presentation to raise awareness about the soon-to-be launched federal CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

Mandated as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21, in 2012, the same piece of legislation that bore the ELD mandate, the drug and alcohol clearinghouse is scheduled to launch January 6, 2020.

The clearinghouse will be a professional truck driver database that will serve as a centralized record of all failed drug or alcohol tests, whether from pre-employment screenings, post-crash tests or random. All refusals to take a drug or alcohol test will also be recorded.

“I came here with a bit of a mission on the drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule,” DeLorenzo said to the MATS audience. It has come to the agency’s attention the clearinghouse has been flying under the radar, a bit, and not enough drivers seem to know about it or they haven’t gotten a full explanation of what the clearinghouse will contain and what it will be used for.

DeLorenzo said drivers have said to him, “Well, I don’t do drugs, so I don’t have to worry about this.”

“Actually, that’s not the case,” DeLorenzo said. “Everybody needs to know about this and get going on it.”

Starting in January, carriers will be required to query the database as part of the new-driver hiring process to ensure that the candidate does not have any failed tests or refusals in the previous three years. Carriers can only gain access to a driver’s record and make the mandatory query with the consent of the driver, and the only way a driver can give that consent is to be registered in the clearinghouse.

So, technically, drivers are not going to be required to register in the clearinghouse, DeLorenzo said. However, if you ever want to get hired anywhere again you’ll have to be registered in the clearinghouse.

“If you’re just kind of staying where you’re at, no intention of leaving, or if you are working for yourself, or if you are nearing retirement, you may decide not to register,” he said. “But in an industry with 100%-plus turnover, I know people are always looking for a new job, a different job, a better job. Any driver who’s going to apply for a new job after this rule goes into effect is going to have to have an account and is going to have to be able to go in.”

DeLorenzo explained why the clearinghouse has been set up this way. Today, when someone applies for a job, they get tested as part of the process. They fail the test and the carrier doesn’t hire them. Three months later, they stay clean just long enough, the apply somewhere else and that company hires them, not knowing about the prior failure.

Starting January 6, carriers will be required to upload notices into the clearinghouse of all failed drug tests by drivers and driving applicants, as well as all refusals to test, as they occur.

The database is designed to go back three years. At first, employers will have to conduct both electronic queries within the clearinghouse and manual inquiries with previous employers to cover the preceding three years to meet the mandated hiring requirement. As of January 6, 2023, they will only need to check the clearinghouse.

Drivers’ records will only contain positive tests and refusals. When a prospective employer makes a query, they will be told if the record is clean. If there are entries, they will be able to get more details.

If a driver has a failed test, the database will also record whether that driver has completed the return-to-duty process.

Drivers will also be able to review their own records, DeLorenzo said, which is another incentive to register. If a driver finds an entry they wish to dispute, they can file a DataQ request to have it corrected.

The clearinghouse website is already up and running. Drivers can go to Clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov to read about the clearinghouse and to register their email addresses for any updates. Actual registration is scheduled to begin in October.

DeLorenzo said he is hoping to raise more awareness about the clearinghouse now so they start registering in October instead of finding out the hard way come February when they try to apply for a job.

“What I’m trying to avoid, actually, is human nature, which is to wait until the very last minute.”

25 COMMENTS

  1. Clearing house? So you want a job you have to be registered in the program? How much does it cost and who pays for it or is this just another program just to suck money out of drivers pockets in order to hire another lsyer of bureaucrats

    • Yep it’s just another example of our poorly-run government going after a hard-working truck drivers instead of the damn criminals
      You’d think they would be spending that much time and effort going ever crooked politicians or crooked police officers.I think whatever legislation that goes in place for drivers should go in place for the law enforcement officers as well because how can you police a group of people and not police yourself on it? you never hear about that legislation do you? And what they’re going to end up with is a bunch of little boys the don’t really want a truck they’re doing it for minimum they’re going to be doing it for minimum wage with all the cost already involved in that we barely make anything as it is electronic logs and ruined it so you end up with a bunch of little boys like I said they’re out here they don’t care about what they’re doing did he know bride and what they’re doing or they’re too worried about the damn legislation they might breathe wrong or part wrong or eat at the wrong time you know what I mean?

    • I cant wait until they anal probe us while we are driving down the road so when we get upset and blood pressure gets too high we can be shut down immediately for a undisclosed amount of time. Better yet how about we just get tired of our over regulated industry, being harrassed by the DOT and state and local police,and tell all you people to shove these trucks up your asses and let you drive to the coast to pick up your crap! Hmmmm.. I like that one. You drivers out there better start thinking about organizing a real stick together attitude before they start injecting those thermometer size probes up your asses and sending your stats back to your companies. Happy trails!

  2. And they wonder why no one wants to drive over the road. I’ve had a CDL/ chaufers licence since I was 16. Haven’t used it for years hold it only for emergency. Why do this for the money involved?

  3. And they want to know where have the Drivers gone? When are the drivers going to stand up for there rights? I started driving to be employed and left alone so I could do my job without being bother for 8 hours. It makes me sick to hear a driver to say I don’t do drugs so whatever. These driver are the problem because it’s a right problem.

    • I couldn’t agree more, and also : I we the “ Good one “ that are left on driving, I we going to get pay more. Meaning that finally trucking will be back again a middle class job, where we can make 150, plus. Otherwise it’s not worth it sacrificing soo much.

    • You don’t have a “right” to drive. You are CHOOSING to drive and therefore subject to ANY law they pass. Don’t like it? Get a different job. I’m all for this. I’m tired of spending my resources hiring deadbeat dope heads. This will help keep dangerous people from driving. Oh and when there is a shortage of drivers, the pay rises. The drivers that are doing it right bring home the cash…

      • Yes, I do have a “right” to drive! I’ve taken care of my mvr over the decades! I’ve stayed at one employer for several years! I’ve taken care of the mountain of paperwork that gets thrown at us! I’ve jumped thru all of the hoops to stay legal. Don’t tell me that I don’t have a right to drive! Don’t tell me that it’s a privilege! I’ve earned the right to drive with 30+ years of driving! I’ve earned the right! You’re not going to put me down and act like I’m some expendable wanna-be rookie Driver that you can treat how you want to! Attitudes like yours need to be dealt with and thrown by the road side. I’ve tried my best to take care of my business over the years to have someone like you downgrade me!

  4. Meanwhile, they will never address the REAL issue of legalized slavery that trucking entails…the 1% keep marching on and on and on…

  5. I wonder if the day will ever come where law makers fall under the same standards and monitoring methods a simple blue collar worker finds himself in…..until we are judged with equal standards, this over reach in my book.

  6. Well i hope to every driver that meets all requirements it also gives them more value for higher pay? Too many liabilities requirements dangers we put up with and todays pay? Its just not worth it.

  7. When will this be implemented for politicians and industry management?
    Answer – Never
    If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander. That’s called leadership.
    Park the mucking trucks, until this place comes to its senses.
    Truck drivers shouldn’t be treated as 2nd class citizens, or guilty before being proven innocent.

  8. Another government overreach, everyone needs to find ways not to work period. Let the gov… Keep up their families. The ones coming up with all this bull…., Are they enrolled, LoL, right. No I don’t do drugs so go hunting somewhere else. Just so sick of crap!!! Solution is so simple, downsize the government, and all of our problems over. Happily ever after.

  9. I wonder if the data base will also register color and consistency of the urinalysis and whether i peed enough. Oh, we have a trucker shortage…hey lets implement more policies to keep drivers from being employed. I agree bad drivers should not be on the road but reality is that they are and work. If all policies were actually enforced we probably wouldn’t have people moving goods anymore. Next thing i need to put my bowel movements into a registered database with time and date color and consistency because everyone knows a constipated driver is a dangerous driver (disclaimer: contains sarcasm)

  10. I can see automated trucks in the very near future!! Taking crystal meth out of trucking won’t makes America great again!!!!. The people who’s making these decisions never driven a Semi across the US. First you give up way to much more of your LIFE to begin with. The pay is very bad meaning you work 24 hours a day and only get paid for TWO!!!!!!!!!!!! IF YOU NEVER SMOKE A CIGARETTE BEFORE IN YOUR LIFE TIME BY THE END OF THE FIRST SIX WEEKS ON THE ROAD, BEFORE MOVING ON TO THE SEVENTH WEEK YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF WITH A PACK OF CAMEL OR Marlboro or both for the rest of your time driving trucks. My point is you have to SMOKE,SWALLOW,SNIFF,SUCK,OR INJECT something to do this job. Safest way for cargo moving forward TRAINS! Most major cities have a distance of 250 to 300 hundreds miles apart from each other states by states, that would allow drivers to work 8 to 10 hours shift get paid hourly rate, and go home at the of shift!!. WIN, WIN, WIN for everyone except Suadi Arabia!!. The Environment would be the biggest winner!!!.

  11. Self driving trucks will take care of the problem. They WILL be in your future.

    “Mandate higher pay.” BAHAHAHA, what country and economic system do you will under?

    Oh, dumbass, elected officials don’t drive 78,000 pound vehicles.

    I have had to fill a cup at every company I have ever worked for.

  12. Don’t matter to me one way or the other but I thought all of this info was already collected and stored via DAC? Refuse a drug test under the current system and see what happens.

  13. Why should everyone have to register? Good old fashioned communism. Big brother wants to know everything about you. Where’s my 4th amendment rights and the others? If you want to use alcohol and drugs while driving a cmv damn right you should register, like myself and others that take this job seriously and don’t do that crap hell yes room to negotiate for more money. When we be getting people in the fmcsa that actually has a brain and some common sense to get rid of the bad ones instead of keeping on punishing the good ones everytime. I bet these same regulations are coming from representatives and people from states who legalized pot for recreational use.

  14. Trucking sucks if it’s not physical,log books, permits,drug test.Whats nxt count the shit stains in your draws to say ur over hrs.cause u didn’t wipe ur butt….Haha that’s why no one wants to drive a truck…..

  15. 32 years on the road and I can’t wait to turn in my keys. More big government regulation. And I will not be signing up for the program. F U.

  16. So another words clearinghouse is the liable party if drivers info is exposed to the public and also hacked information ! I think all the truckers and future truckers should refuse to give info and all the trucking companies will be at a loss. There are crying now that they are short handed so why put more restrictions on the American workers!! I guess that clearinghouse has a agenda …

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