Answers to 3 FAQs About the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse


The FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse officially went live on January 6th, 2020. The purpose of the FMCSA's Clearinghouse is to improve highway safety by reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles. To accomplish this mission of enhancing safety on our nation's thousands of miles of highways, CMV drivers and their employers are now required to register drivers' alcohol and drug violations on a federal clearinghouse. That clearinghouse will then need to be consulted before drivers are officially deemed fit to operate a commercial vehicle. 

While the clearinghouse rule has been in effect for almost six months, it's also been a very challenging time in America over that time span. Between COVID-19 shutdowns and consistent political unrest, it's safe to say the FMCSA clearinghouse hasn’t been the first thing on everyone's mind. If you’re a CMV professional who hasn’t had the time to fully understand the new rule and how to follow it, this article has got you covered. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the FMCSA drug and alcohol clearinghouse. 


Why has the FMCSA Implemented This Rule? 

As we explained in the paragraphs above, the main goal of the FMCSA's Clearinghouse is to save lives by reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles. Both the FMCSA and the U.S government recognized the startlingly high number of highway accidents, and to combat the problem, congress directed the Secretary of Transportation to establish the new Clearinghouse rule. 

The Clearinghouse is one part of a larger mission that's intended to educate, enforce, and partner with other areas of the transportation industry, and hold drivers and employers accountable for dangerous drug and alcohol violations. Authorized users will be required to report drug and alcohol violations, either their own violations or those of their employees, in order to improve highway safety. 


What Classifies as a Violation of the Clearinghouse Rule?

We’ve established that the new rule pertains to alcohol and drug violations, but what, exactly, classifies as a violation? 

Violations that must be reported on the Clearinghouse will include Positive DOT drug test results, DOT alcohol results of 0.04 BAC and above, refusals to submit to DOT tests, Instances of alcohol use within four hours prior to performing a "safety-sensitive” function, and alcohol use prior to post-accident alcohol testing. These violations will be reported by the employer, the employee’s medical review officer, or a third-party administrator in order to ensure transparency and accuracy. 


Where Can I go to Learn More About the Rule? 

When the Clearinghouse rule was first introduced, there was a fair amount of confusion regarding the specifics of exactly how CMV employers and drivers can, and should, properly follow the guidelines. That’s why we decided to launch Clearinghouse Navigator

Clearinghouse Navigator simplifies the FMCSA's Clearinghouse requirement by combining carefully developed eLearning solutions, answers to frequently asked questions, a vast resource of knowledge-base articles and so much more. Clearinghouse Navigator has every necessary resource for CMV and related professionals to learn, implement, and follow the new rule. 

The country is United behind improving highway safety, and the FMCSA drug and alcohol clearinghouse is a major first step towards doing that. In the long run, we'll all benefit from this new rule. 

*For answers to more FAQs, visit Clearinghouse Navigators’ FAQ page.*