Understanding FMCSA and the CDL Clearinghouse
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a division within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The FMCSA established the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse), which is a secure online database where the FMCSA, employers, state driver licensing agencies, and law enforcement personnel can access real-time information about CDL driver drug and alcohol program violations. The goal is to prevent unsafe drivers from job hopping after safety violations stemming from alcohol or drug use.
UVA's Requirements Under the FMCSA Clearinghouse
Under this law, UVA is required to:
- Report employee CDL driver violations of drug and alcohol regulations
- Query the Clearinghouse for current and prospective employees’ drug and alcohol violations before permitting those employees to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) on public roads.
There are two types of queries:
This annual query for each CDL driver currently employed is an electronic check of a driver’s record that alerts users whether an individual driver’s Clearinghouse record has any information about resolved or unresolved drug and alcohol program violations. A violation is unresolved if the driver has not completed the return-to-duty (RTD) process.
This pre-employment (or pre-assignment for a new CDL position) review queries the Clearinghouse for current and prospective employees' drug and alcohol violations before permitting those employees to operate a CMV on public roads.
Consent Required Before Queries
Employee consent must be granted before UVA can query the Clearinghouse to determine whether a record exists for any particular driver. The type of consent required depends on the type of query.
For limited queries, UVA will gain consent upon hiring the individual. If consent was not gained at that time, consent must be received electronically prior to running the limited query. Because the consent spans multiple years, gathering consent is not required annually.
For the first consent process in 2021, UVA's partner, Applicant Insight, will send each CDL driver a limited query consent form no later than December 1, 2021. This form must be signed and returned before December 23, 2021.
For full queries, the employee must provide consent electronically within the Clearinghouse system.
For more information, please see the FAQ's below. HR Business Partners are available to assist both managers and employees with questions.
Employees whose limited queries return indication of information on their record will need to undergo a full query. UVA's partner, Applicant Insight will contact the employee to provide consent for a full query.