Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

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The final rule for the clearinghouse was published on December 2016. In the fall of 2019 carrier and driver registrations began along with the ability to purchase query plans. On January 6, 2020 the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will became fully operation. The FMCSA provided 1 year to allow carriers and drivers to become compliant before the begin to impose fines for being non-compliant.

On January 6, 2021 the grace period ends Employers who do not comply with the FMCSA Clearinghouse requirements are subject to the civil and/or criminal penalties set forth at 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(C) (i.e., civil penalties not to exceed $2,500 for each offense or each driver).

Many folks believe that the main reason that the drug and alcohol Clearinghouse was created was to help control the job hopping of drivers who fail a drug test with one carrier to then apply with another carrier. That really is not the case yes, the program is needed to control the job hopping reason but the true impetus for a drug and alcohol clearinghouse can be traced back at least 20 years to a bus crash in New Orleans in May 1999 in which 22 passengers were killed. Federal investigators found that the probable cause of the accident was the failure of the medical certification process to detect and remove the driver from service due to his severe medical conditions, as well as a lack of a way to identify drivers who have tested positive for drugs.

As a result, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that FMCSA develop a system that records all positive drug and alcohol test results and require prospective employers and certifying agencies to query the system before making hiring and certification decisions.