FMCSA final rule to establish repository of DOT drug and alcohol violations

Motor carriers and service providers play a role in populating data in the clearinghouse

Posted December 2, 2016

A national database will be established by January 6, 2020, to record drug and alcohol violations occurring under a motor carrier’s U.S. Department of Transportation testing program, according to a final rule scheduled to be published on Monday, December 5, 2016, by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Repository helps detect unresolved violations

The final rule will establish a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse for CDL (commercial driver’s license) drivers that tested positive or refused a DOT-required test. Once this central repository is established, motor carrier employers will be required to:

  • Query the system for information on driver applicants, and
  • Search the database annually for current employees.

The clearinghouse will assist the motor carrier in determining whether a driver needs to begin or continue with the necessary steps in the DOT return-to-duty process (i.e., Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) program) in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

Drivers that violate DOT testing rules under another motor carrier’s program would be captured in the database. Examples include pre-employment tests in which the driver was not hired, previous employment, and concurrent employment, including those positions a driver may omit from the application.

Employers and service providers will be called upon to report DOT drug and alcohol testing program violations. Motor carriers, MROs, third-party administrators, and SAPs must provide information when a driver:

  • Tests positive for drugs or alcohol,
  • Refuses drug and alcohol testing, and
  • Undergoes the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process.

Privacy concerns

Before a motor carrier may gain access to the information in the clearinghouse, a driver must grant consent. Without this content, FMCSA is unable to release the driver’s data to the employer. A driver can review his or her report at no cost by registering with the clearinghouse.

Alcohol & Drugs DOT Compliance ManualJ. J. Keller's Alcohol & Drugs DOT Compliance Manual can help you understand and comply with DOT's Alcohol & Drug Testing requirements, including 49 CFR Parts 382 and 40.


J. J. Keller's FREE Transportation SafetyClicks™ email newsletter brings quick-read safety and compliance news right to your email box.

Sign up to receive Transportation SafetyClicks™.