What Is the USDOT Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse?

January 14, 2020 4:01 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

January 2020 is an important date for trucking companies in Minnesota and across the United States. The new U.S. Department of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse is in effect to keep track of certain commercial truck drivers. This electronic database will track commercial driver’s license holders who’ve tested positive for drug or alcohol use and those who have refused to take required drug tests. Other drug and alcohol violations are also included in this database. If a driver is found to be in violation, they must complete the required return-to-duty process—and this information goes into the clearinghouse records, as well.

The clearinghouse is in play to prevent commercial drivers who have violated federal alcohol and drug rules from being dishonest about their test results when applying for a trucking job elsewhere. Here’s a rundown of what your trucking company needs to know about the new USDOT Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse.

Effective January 2020

Freight carriers and other commercial drivers were able to start registering with the database back in October. To register, you need to enter your USDOT number, not your Employee Identification Number. Be sure to give a list of authorized users. As of January 6, 2020, the new rule requires employees to submit the following information to the clearinghouse: employees’ DOT drug and alcohol violations as described under Part 382 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulations, and verification that any CDL driver required to complete the DOT return-to-duty process has done so.

Specific data submitted to the clearinghouse

Motor carriers are required to report violations of the DOT Part 382 drug testing regulations (positive tests and refusals to take a drug or alcohol test), as well as report “actual knowledge” violations, negative return-to-duty test results and completion of the process and necessary programs.

An employer must submit a report of a drug or alcohol program violation by the end of the day on the third business day following the date they received the information. Ultimately, the only information that gets added to the clearinghouse is DOT drug or alcohol tests. Some pre-employment fleet tests—such as hair testing—may not be entered into the clearinghouse. Pertinent records remain in the clearinghouse until the return-to-duty process is complete. Once removed from the clearinghouse database, records are archived with the FMSCA.

The two types of clearinghouse queries

Motor carriers can make full and limited queries within the system. Full queries must be made pre-employment. The information from the clearinghouse will show potential employers any violation of the drug testing regulations in Part 382 and return-to-duty status as soon as a driver completes a treatment program. A limited query should be performed at least once a year on all the carrier’s drivers. It’s basically asking if any driver has a record in the database.

This is only some of what you need to know about the new USDOT Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, but you can go online to learn more. K-Way Express, Inc. in Minnesota is up to speed and ready to ship your cargo today!

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