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The FMCSA CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse takes effect in January 2020

Updated: May 11



The new regulations will effect a database of CDL truck drivers who have at some point failed or refused to take a drug or alcohol test prior to or during employment. Starting in January 2020, carriers will be required to upload notices of failed drug or alcohol tests and must also use this database before hiring new drivers, to make sure that their potential hire has not failed a test within the past 3 years. Drivers who are looking to apply for a driving job are required to register to the clearinghouse and must upload all accurate records of positive substance abuse tests. Registration for the clearinghouse will begin in October 2019.

Only failed tests will be stored within the clearinghouse from pre-employment, post-accident, and random drug tests. If a driver had failed a test, the clearinghouse will also state whether they completed the -return-to-duty process. The clearinghouse has been put in place so that potential employers are able to obtain information before making a hire and so that drivers do not slit through the drug and alcohol testing process. 


If a driver finds incorrect information within the clearinghouse, they can file a request to fix it with DataQ.


Substance abuse testing and follow up rules

Pre-employment: A driver must take a 5-panel drug test. This test tests the 5 most commonly used drugs and a driver is not allowed behind the wheel until the negative results have been received by the employer.


Post-accident: A drive that is involved in an accident must be tested for alcohol within 2 hours. If there is a delay in testing, the delay must be documented. Drug tests must be completed within 32 hours of the accident. You would test the driver if these situations occurred:

1. There was a fatality

2. The driver was issued a ticket AND someone was treated for injuries

3. The driver was issued a ticket AND the vehicle was towed


Return to duty: If the driver tests positive to a substance abuse test, they must complete a substance abuse program, and then go through a return to duty test. A negative result is required before returning to driving.


Follow up: Once the driver has completed the return to duty program, a Substance Abuse Officer will direct the employer on how often to test said driver. Typically, this is 6 random tests in a 12-month time frame.


For more information visit FMCSA

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2112 1st Ave. N. Birmingham, AL 35203

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