Drug and Alcohol Reporting Requirements for CDL Drivers

FMCSA Reporting


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.

Queries

There are two types of queries:

Limited:
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.

Full:
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. 

Query Results

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. 

See the FMCSA Clearinghouse Website

Frequently Asked Questions

See below for answers to frequently asked questions. 

Reporting

  • What are Employers Required to Report?

    • An alcohol confirmation test result with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater (The Medical Review Officer (MRO) will be responsible for reporting verified positive, adulterated or substituted controlled substance drug tests)
    • A CDL driver’s refusal to submit a DOT test for drug or alcohol use
    • Actual knowledge as defined in §382.107*
    • Negative return-to-duty tests
    • The date a driver successfully completes all follow-up tests as ordered by a substance abuse professional (SAP) 
  • What Should An Employer Do when he/she has knowledge of an employee using drugs or alcohol at work?

     

    • Remove the driver from performing safety-sensitive functions and provide a list of SAP’s available for the return to duty process. The employer must document the actual knowledge and keep it on file for at least 5 years
    • Report the event with documentation to the Clearinghouse Database.
  • Are there any regulatory requirements that drivers preemptively notify the employer of violations?

    Yes. Each person holding a commercial driver's license and subject to the DOT controlled substances and alcohol testing requirements who has violated the alcohol and controlled substances prohibitions without complying with return to work (including testing) requirements must notify in writing all current employers of such violation(s). The driver is not required to provide notification to the employer that administered the test or documented the circumstances that gave rise to the violation. The notification must be made before the end of the business day following the day the employee received notice of the violation, or prior to performing any safety-sensitive function, whichever comes first.

  • What drivers are covered requiring their violations to be reported to the Clearinghouse?

    Covered drivers in the DOT FMCSA drug and alcohol testing program include those drivers with a CDL operating on public roads and operating a truck or bus under the following conditions: vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating/gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight rating/gross combination weight of 26,001 or more lbs., or vehicle designed to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or vehicle of any size that is used to transport hazardous materials which require the vehicle to be placarded

  • For an alcohol positive of 0.04 or above, what information must be reported to the Clearinghouse?

    For alcohol concentration of 0.04 or above, employers must report to the Clearinghouse the following: 

    • Reason for test 

    • Driver’s name, date of birth, commercial driver’s license (CDL) number and State of issuance; 

    • Employer name, address, and USDOT number, if applicable; 

    • Date of test 

    • Test resul

  • What happens if a driver begins the Follow Up Testing Schedule but doesn't complete it?

    If a driver starts a follow-up testing plan as a part of the return to Duty Process(RTD) but does not complete it, then the driver has to make up the tests at a future date, meaning more tests within a shorter period to make up for it. If they refuse to do so, then they are not allowed to be on the road operating a CMV until they get back onto the plan and finish it per FMCSA rules.  

  • Can violations from other DOT agencies like FTA or FAA be reported to and stored in the Clearinghouse?

    No, only FMCSA DOT drug & alcohol testing violations will be reported and stored in the Clearinghouse. 

  • Will employers be required to report non-DOT drug or alcohol test results to the Clearinghouse?

    No, only FMCSA DOT drug & alcohol testing violations will be reported to the Clearinghouse. 

  • What information will employers need to report when there is actual knowledge?

    Per § 382.705(b)(5), when reporting actual knowledge, employers must report the following: 

    • Driver’s name, date of birth, commercial driver’s license (CDL) number and State of issuance; 

    • Employer name, address, and USDOT number, if applicable; 

    • Date the employer obtained actual knowledge of the violation; 

    • Witnesses to the violation, if any, including contact information; 

    • Description of the violation; 

    • Evidence supporting each fact alleged in the description of the violation, which may include, but is not limited to, affidavits, photographs, video or audio recordings, employee statements (other than admissions pursuant to § 382.121), correspondence, or other documentation; and 

    • A certificate of service or other evidence showing that the employer provided the employee with all information reported. 

  • If there is a positive alcohol test is the C/TPA required to report a positive alcohol to the Clearinghouse?

    It is the employer’s responsibility to report for their employees and if the employer granted reporting capabilities to the C/TPA, then the C/TPA may report the positive test. If the positive test is for the owner-operator, then the designated C/TPA must report the positive test to the Clearinghouse. for this to happen the employer including owner operator must have registered into the Clearinghouse and must designate the C/TPA to report on their behalf. 

Clearinghouse

  • What information about drivers will be reported to the Clearinghouse?

    The medical review officers (MRO) will report positive drug test results and MRO determined refusals to test. The employer will report positive alcohol tests, employer determined refusals and employer actual knowledge of drug or alcohol use on the job. The Substance Abuse Professional will report their determination that the driver has demonstrated successful compliance with education and treatment requirement and is eligible for return-to-duty (RTD) testing. 

  • How will employers utilize the Clearinghouse?

    Two main functions for employers, one is to report violations such as employer determined refusals, positive alcohol test results and actual knowledge of drug or alcohol use as defined in 49 CFR Part 382.107. The other function is the query of drivers first upon initial employment and second querying all drivers once per year. 

  • Does the Clearinghouse violate the requirements of HIPAA?

    No, the Clearinghouse does not fall under the HIPAA requirements. Clearinghouse users do not fall into any of the HIPAA categories called “covered entities.” DOT requires the use or disclosure of DOT drug & alcohol testing information, its release is mandated by Federal law, and would not violate the requirements of HIPAA.

  • How is the data on drivers protected and stored with confidentiality in the Clearinghouse?

    Drivers will need to consent in the Clearinghouse for the release of violation information. Security protocols will be in place for access to the Clearinghouse database. Users will have credentials to log in and the system will require completion of a user verification process to ensure the proper person is using those credentials. This should be a very secure system.

  • What types of data and information will be maintained and stored in the Clearinghouse?

    Primarily the data stored will be employee violations of refusals to test and positive drug and alcohol test results. Additionally, employer’s actual knowledge of illegal drug use or alcohol use on the job and also SAP reports of the successful completion of the return-to-duty process will be maintained and stored in the Clearinghouse. 

  • Will drivers be able to access the Clearinghouse and what interaction will they have?

    Drivers will be able to login and see what information, if any, has been reported on them. There will be a process for drivers to challenge the accuracy of the information reported. Drivers will not be allowed to challenge the actual outcome or validity of test results or refusals which have already been vetted and reported by an MRO or an employer.

Queries

  • Who is Notified of Query Results?

    Only 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. 

  • What happens if a limited query shows that information exists in a driver’s Clearinghouse record?

    If the limited query shows that information exists in a driver’s Clearinghouse record, the employer must conduct a full query within 24 hours to obtain detailed information on the violation. 

    Full queries provide detailed information about drug or alcohol violations in a driver’s Clearinghouse record, whereas limited queries only show that information exists in a driver’s Clearinghouse record.  

    Drivers with a hit cannot perform safety-sensitive functions including driving a CMV until they have satisfied the requirements for return-to-duty, including testing performed in accordance with 49 CFR part 40, subpart O.

    When an employee has violated DOT drug and alcohol regulations, they cannot again perform any DOT safety-sensitive duties for any employer until and unless they complete the SAP evaluation, referral, and education/treatment process set forth in subpart O. 

  • What Happens if an Employee Fails to Consent to a Query?

    Failure to consent would require the driver to be removed from Safety Sensitive Functions (such as operating a CMV). Drivers are notified when an employer is conducting a query by the method they selected at registration.

  • As the employer is hiring a new driver and performing the required query in the Clearinghouse, does the employer have to get the query back before placing the driver in a covered safety sensitive position or is there a time deadline?

    Yes, you must receive the query results before placing the driver in safety-sensitive functions.

  • What do we do if the driver does not have the pending query in their Clearinghouse account?

    Below are a few potential solutions to correct the issue: 

    1. The driver can go their profile and update their CDL information. They need to make sure their name is entered as it is on their drivers license and the CDL number is entered with no dashes no spaces, click verify. Once the information is verified the pending query should appear in their dashboard.  
    2. If the above does not fix it then the employer can cancel the query from their dashboard and resubmit the query. Again making sure to enter the name as it appears on the license and the CDL number with no dashes no spaces. The employer is only charged for a successful query, cancelling and resubmitting a query will not result in another charge. 
    3. If neither of these fixes the issue it may be necessary to delete the drivers account and re-register. This is a process that has to be done through login.gov and requires a 24 wait time to complete. 
  • Can an employer conduct Queries at any time or only for Pre-employment and Annual Queries?

    An employer is able to conduct to as many limited queries as they would like. The number of potential limited queries should be provided in the Query Consent Form signed by the driver. An Annual Limited Query is required on all drivers a minimum of once in a 12-month rolling period. 

    If a driver has information reported to their account, a limited query will provide the result of “Information Found”. This query will need to convert to a Full Query requiring the driver to provide their consent electronically. “Information Found” is not an indication the driver is prohibited from driving.