Since the launch of the FMCSA Clearinghouse on January 6, 2020, over 2 million CDL drivers have registered and over 6.5 million employer queries have been conducted (FMCSA, 2021). The purpose of the FMCSA Clearinghouse is to provide employers the tools they need to identify drivers who have violated DOT drug and alcohol regulations and are required to go through the DOT return to duty process to return to work safely (FMCSA, 2020). With over 80,000 violations identified since the beginning, it is helping to keep our roadways safer. However, there are still over 60,000 CDL drivers unable to operate a commercial vehicle due to a violation (FMCSA, 2021). Therefore, understanding the process of how information is entered into the Clearinghouse can help move some of these drivers toward the finish line.
CDL Driver Registration
The FMCSA Clearinghouse is part of the Department of Transportation (DOT). Only CDL drivers and CDL permit holders are required to register. Once a driver is registered, they can conduct three actions:
- Respond to a request for a full query on any potential DOT drug or alcohol violations from a current or prospective employer. If that driver refuses this action, they will be prohibited from conducting safety-sensitive functions.
- Review their Clearinghouse record for any current or potential DOT violations and their status.
- Identify a qualified DOT Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) to work with during the DOT return to duty process. For more information on SAP evaluations, check out the blog, “How to Prepare for a SAP Evaluation”.
Employees can find complete instructions on how to register here: https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/Resource/Index/Registration-Driver-Instructions
Employers play a key role in maintaining safety in the workplace. By registering in the Clearinghouse, they can complete the following actions:
- Invite assistants to act on their behalf.
- Designate your C/TPA after coming up with a plan on what level of services you require.
- Purchase a query plan to run queries.
- Request consent from drivers and prospective drivers and run queries. For more information on conducting queries, check out the blog, “Have You Conducted Your FMCSA Clearinghouse Annual Inquiries”
- Report drug and alcohol violations; alcohol test results 0.04 or greater, refusals to take a test and actual knowledge. Report negative return-to-duty drug or alcohol test results and a driver’s successful completion of their follow-up testing plan.
Employers can find complete instructions on how to register here: https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/Resource/Storyline/Employer-Reg/
The qualified DOT Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) plays an important role in getting DOT safety-sensitive employees, such as CDL drivers and permit holders back to work. It is their job to evaluate and assess the employee, provide recommendations and a follow-up testing plan in accordance with the DOT return to duty process. As a registered user in the FMCSA Clearinghouse the SAP can provide the following information:
- Identification of the driver and the date of the initial assessment. The SAP must be registered in the Clearinghouse for employees to be able to designate them as their SAP.
- Date of determination of eligibility for return to duty testing.
SAPs can find complete instructions on how to register here: https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/Resource/Index/Registration-SAP-Instructions
The role of the Medical Review Officer (MRO) is to report the results of an employee’s laboratory verified DOT drug test. This test may be a verified positive, adulterated, substituted, or refusal to test determinations for controlled substances tests from the laboratory, which is still treated the same as a positive test. If there are any changes to the results of a verified DOT drug test, only the MRO can make the change in the Clearinghouse. For more information on positive DOT drug tests, check out our website, https://go2asap.com/resources/dot-drug-test/
MROs can find complete instructions on how to register here: https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/Resource/Index/Registration-MRO-Instructions
The DOT FMCSA Clearinghouse is an excellent tool for providing employers insight into employee DOT violations. However, it also provides a roadmap for employees to follow to complete the return to duty process and get back to work safely.
American Substance Abuse Professionals, Inc. (ASAP), has a network of more than 5,000 qualified DOT SAPs throughout the United States. We match employees with a SAP near them so they can return to work as quickly as they can comply with the process. Our clients have an 85% success rate in successfully completing the SAP process to be eligible to return to safety sensitive work with our guidance. The enrollment process is quick and easy. Call 888-792-2727 x177 to enroll today. #worksafely
FMCSA. (2021). Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse monthly summary report, May 2021. https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/Resource/Index/monthly-report-May2021
FMCSA. (2020). Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/commercial-drivers-license-drug-and-alcohol-clearinghouse#:~:text=The%20Clearinghouse%20provides%20FMCSA%20and,a%20CMV%20on%20public%20roads.
Do you need Substance Abuse Professional Services?
ASAP offers a nationwide network of over 5,000 locations with DOT qualified SAPs. Our trained and knowledgeable team will assist you in understanding the process and signing up. It’s fast and easy to enroll with ASAP! 888.792.2727 x607