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  • Henry Seaton

FMCSA issues drug testing clearinghouse rule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a final rule that establishes a national database for the positive drug and alcohol testing results for commercial driver's license (CDL) holders, effective January 2020. The national drug and alcohol clearinghouse will serve as a central repository containing records of violations, including positive tests and a refusal to undergo testing as well as positive tests. The clearinghouse also will log CDL drivers who undergo the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process. Motor carrier employers will be required to query the clearinghouse for information concerning current or prospective employees who have unresolved violations of the federal drug and alcohol testing regulations that prohibit them from operating a CMV. Employers and medical review officers also would have to report drug and alcohol testing program violations. The final rule requires motor carriers, medical review officers, third-party administrators, and substance abuse professionals to report information about drivers who:

  • Test positive for drugs or alcohol;

  • Refuse drug and alcohol testing; and

  • Undergo the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process

Motor carriers will be required to search the clearinghouse annually for current employees and during the pre-employment process for prospective employees to determine whether a driver violated drug or alcohol testing requirements with a different employer. Because the clearinghouse would replace current procedures for monitoring compliance, motor carriers' duty to retain its own compliance records will end three years after the clearinghouse begins operation. Drivers must consent before an employer can request access to that driver’s clearinghouse record and before FMCSA can release the driver’s clearinghouse record to an employer. After registering with the clearinghouse a driver can review his or her information at no cost. For the final rule, click here. For more information from FMCSA, click here.

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