FMCSA opens registration for drug and alcohol clearinghouse

FMCSA_opens_registration_1-credit-JAFW.jpg

by John Gallagher, FreightWaves Washington Correspondent

Trucking companies can now register for the drug and alcohol clearinghouse being administered and operated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency announced on October 1.

Registration will be required in order for authorized users to access the clearinghouse once it is fully implemented on January 6, 2020. Those users include:

  • Drivers who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit

  • Employers of CDL drivers, including those who employ themselves as owner-operators

  • Consortia/Third-Party Administrators

  • Medical Review Officers

  • Substance Abuse Professionals

FMCSA emphasized that while commercial drivers aren’t required to immediately register, they must be registered to respond to an employer’s request for consent prior to a pre-employment or other query being conducted.

“As this Congressional mandate is enacted, FMCSA’s goal is to ensure drivers, employers and everyone who will be using the clearinghouse are registered as efficiently and effectively as possible,” said FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez, adding, “we strongly encourage all [commercial motor vehicle] stakeholders to get registered in the clearinghouse now.”

Registration is free. An FMCSA source told FreightWaves that there will be a subsequent announcement when clearinghouse query plans are open for purchase.

An alert issued by the law firm Scopelitis urged carriers to not only begin registering given the impending January 6 deadline, but they should also:

  • Ensure that their federally mandated drug and alcohol testing policies contain all necessary details about the clearinghouse.

  • Develop procedures for running initial queries for prospective drivers and annual queries for existing drivers.

  • Communicate with drivers to ensure they will be properly registered through the clearinghouse if required.