What is the FMCSA Clearinghouse?
The FMCSA Clearinghouse is a division of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). FMCSA stands for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA has put together an electronic database called "The Clearinghouse". This database contains records of violations of drug and alcohol prohibitions made by DOT drivers.
Violations made by DOT drivers holding a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) could include the following:
- Failed alcohol breath testing results
- Positive drug test results
- Employee refusal to test for drug and alcohol testing
The following individuals are required to report information related to violations of drug and alcohol regulations to the Clearinghouse:
- Medical Review Officers (MRO's)
- Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP's)
- Consortia/third party administrators (C/TPA's)
- Other Service Agents
The Clearinghouse requires that employers place a query regarding any drug and alcohol violations made by current or prospective employees before allowing them to operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) on public roads. The employer is also required to query the Clearinghouse on an annual basis about any violations from drivers they currently employ.
Overall, the Clearinghouse provides the FMCSA and employers with the necessary tools to identify any employees who are currently prohibited from operating a CMV on public roads. The Clearinghouse helps to prevent drivers with previous drug or alcohol violations from moving from state to state with the goal of hiding these previous violations. The overarching goal is to improve the safety standards of the transportation industry and ultimately provide a better standard of safety for the public.
Employers need to have a clear understanding of their obligations under the Clearinghouse based on the requirements of the FMCSA final rule.
The FMCSA offers answers for all frequently asked questions around the CDL drug and alcohol Clearinghouse. These cover topics such as confidentiality and privacy of records, false information on records and making corrections to information that is held on record.
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