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FMCSA To Publish Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule

The FMCSA is set to publish its Commercial Drivers License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule on August 29, 2016 in the Federal Register. This new rule sets requirements for reporting to FMCSA on failed drug tests or refusals of drug tests by drivers. Rule requirements for carriers:
  • Query the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse annually for all current driver employees and report any citations issued to drivers for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Report any positive drug test results, or refusal to take a drug test, for driver candidates being considered for hire to FMCSA.
  • Query the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse for driver candidate violations during the hiring process.
  • Obtain written permission from drivers before querying the database for their records. Refusal to provide written permission by the driver is reported to the FMCSA and an entry logged into the database.
Rule requirements for owner/operators:
  • Owner/operators must report to FMCSA the consortium or third-party administrator that performs its drug tests and authorize it to submit information on failed tests or refusals to take drug tests for any of its drivers.
Rule requirements for drivers:
  • Provide written consent before their employer can query the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse for their information. Refusal to provide written consent for a query will result in a driver not being permitted to drive.
  • If applicable, appeal database query results by requesting an administrative review in writing. Drivers must provide a written explanation of why they believe the query results are incorrect. The FMCSA will make a ruling in 60 days.
  • A driver must complete the FMCSA return-to-duty process before being allowed back behind the wheel following a positive test result. The positive drug test results remain on the driver’s record for either three or five years as determined by the FMCSA. Positive drug test results will remain in the database indefinitely if a driver does not complete the return-to-duty process
The driver’s information must be removed from the database within two business days if a citation for drug or alcohol use does not lead to a conviction. A public comment period on the rule will open following its publication in the Federal Register. For a summary of the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule, download the DOT’s monthly report on rulemaking.