The Department of Transportation is establishing a central database called the Commercial Drivers License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Carriers will be required to register their employees and report test results to the clearinghouse, which will contain all of the relevant drug and alcohol testing information for commercial drivers.
The rule has been in the works for four years, but the database won’t be up and running until 2020. The clearinghouse will prevent CDL holders who test positive for drugs and alcohol from job-hopping. Now, when drivers move from one state to another, their test results might not follow. The national database will solve that. It will also keep a record of those who refused the required drug and alcohol tests, as well as drivers who completed a return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process, so carriers won't hire the wrong drivers by mistake.
What is different for trucking companies?
Carriers typically use service agents, such as a drug and alcohol testing consortium or third-party administrator like CleanFleet to do their testing. That probably won't change. Once the database is ready, however, all commercial drivers and all service agents will need to register with the clearinghouse and report their testing information.
After that, trucking companies will be required to query the database at least once a year, and also whenever they plan to hire a new driver.
Here are the two types of database checks:
- Pre-employment screening: Employers will be required to verify that new hires don't have outstanding positive test results.
- Annual screening: Employers will also need to submit their driver rosters to the national database at least once a year, in case there is new information about those employees.
If the annual screening uncovers new information about a driver in the clearinghouse database, a full detailed query is required within 24 hours. The employer may not allow the driver to perform any safety-sensitive functions until the driver’s record is fully validated and cleared.
Fees to access and query database: The clearinghouse rule states that the FMCSA may collect a fee from entities required to query the database. The exception – no driver has to pay to access his or her own information. So, what kind of fees can you expect?
Arkansas implemented the same sort of database back in 2008. For comparison, a subscription to that database costs $95 annually. There is also a $2.50 fee per search transaction to query the database.
For more details and FAQ about the new rule, visit CleanFleet.org
Brian Gray is CEO and Chief Technology Officer of CleanFleet, the leading Drug & Alcohol Third Party Administrator in the Northwest. From D&A program management to collections, they keep your business and employees safe and working efficiently.