Winter 2020

US DOT Debuts the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

As of January 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) activated the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) through publishing a new rule codified at 49 U.S.C. 31306(a) with an eye toward the reduction of commercial motor vehicle crashes and fatalities. This web-based system (, will provide employers with information to identify drivers who have received DOT drug and alcohol violations. The Clearinghouse will also ensure that all DOT regulations are met before a driver is permitted to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

To access the Clearinghouse, employers will need to first register for an account. Accounts can be created by using the following link ( The initial registration will be valid for five years unless terminated by the FMCSA. Annual reporting requirements became effective on January 6, 2020.

Once registered, employers can use the system to 1) verify a driver’s previous drug and alcohol violations; 2) update the status of new violations and 3) perform annual reviews of all employed drivers. In addition to registration with the Clearinghouse, employers, State Driver’s License Agencies, and the National Transportation Safety Board will be required to use the Clearinghouse to notify other agencies of a driver’s compliance with DOT requirements. Moreover, the National Transportation Safety Board and other enforcement personnel will be able to view a driver’s status remotely and will be required to report violations accordingly.

For employers, reporting is required if 1) the driver returns an alcohol test with a concentration of 0.04 or higher; 2) a driver refuses to take a alcohol or drug test; 3) an employer has actual knowledge of alcohol use within four hours of starting duty or prior to post-accident testing; 4) a negative return to duty test, and 5) completion of follow-up testing. In addition, employers are required to run a query through the Clearinghouse before hiring a prospective driver. Moreover, employers are required to run annual testing of each employed driver.

The Clearinghouse will collect the following information in the event of a drug and/or alcohol-related test: 1) the reason for the test; 2) the driver’s name date of birth and CDL number and state of issuance; 3) the employer’s name address in US DOT number; 4) the date of the test; 5) the date of the verified result; 6) the type of test; 7) reporting date; and 8) the result of the test. All information collected will be added to the database.

In sum, the Clearinghouse should expedite the verification and reporting requirements for employers with respect to prospective drivers and those currently employed. The Clearinghouse should also facilitate more accurate information gathering and verification. It is important to note that the creation of the Clearinghouse does not alter any other reporting requirements required by DOT or the FMSCA, and that all information contained in the database is subject to DOT retention procedures and must comply with FMSCA guidelines.

For more information about this article, please contact Adam Shareef at 410.230.3056 or