On January 6, 2020, the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will go live. If you are an employer regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and you employ drivers with commercial driver’s licenses, you will need to register with the Clearinghouse before then. Registration is scheduled to go live this Fall.
What is the Clearinghouse? The Clearinghouse will be an electronic repository taking the place of the current paper system used to make prospective employers aware of previous drug and alcohol related violations and verified positive drug test results. Presently, when an employer wants to employ a new driver, it must ask that driver’s previous employers to disclose these violations and positive test results. To do so, it must secure the driver’s written consent, and then this consent must be furnished to the prior employers. The prior employer will complete the form and send it back to the prospective employer. ESS currently handles this process for a number of our DOT-regulated employers.
With the Clearinghouse, Medical Review Officers and Substance Abuse Professionals will be the ones to report verified positive drug test results or refusals to tests. Prospective employers will report drug and alcohol program violations to the Clearinghouse, and they will need to check the Clearinghouse to confirm that no current or prospective driver is prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, such as operating a commercial motor vehicle. Before the employer will be able to check on a prospective driver, that driver will need to log onto the Clearinghouse and provide consent. Employers will also use the Clearinghouse to designate their third-party administrator, such as ESS.
The phaseout of the paper process will take three years to complete, so it will not be until January 2023 that employers and their drivers will be using the Clearinghouse exclusively.
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