FMCSA Guidelines

FMCSA Guidelines

The transportation industry is highly regulated. These regulations are put in place to lower accident and injury rates and insure public safety. The regulations come in multiple forms including drug and alcohol testing, equipment inspections, management of driver qualification files, and driver health, as tested with the DOT physicals performed on commercial motor vehicle drivers. All guidelines and requirements are outlined on the FMCSA website and the Drug & Alcohol Regulations are found specifically in the 49 CFR Part 40. Reference the links provided to find further information regarding compliance to regulations and your industry.


Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse

It is especially important to understand the new Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse and how its implementation, on January 6, 2020, will affect your company. Below is the executive summary outlining the final ruling on the Clearinghouse and its purpose.

Purpose and Summary of the Major Provisions of the Clearinghouse

"The purpose of the Clearinghouse, as mandated by section 32402 of MAP-21, is to maintain records of all drug and alcohol program violations in a central repository and require that employers query the system to determine whether current and prospective employees have incurred a drug or alcohol violation that would prohibit them from performing safety-sensitive functions covered by the FMCSA and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol testing regulations. This will provide FMCSA and employers the necessary tools to identify drivers who are prohibited from operating a CMV and ensure that such drivers receive the required evaluation and treatment before resuming safety-sensitive functions. Specifically, information maintained in the Clearinghouse will ensure that drivers who commit a drug or alcohol violation while working for another employer, or who attempt to find work with another employer, do not perform safety-sensitive functions until completing the return-to-duty process. The Clearinghouse thus addresses the situation in which drivers can conceal their drug and alcohol violations merely by moving on to the next job or the next jurisdiction. As explained below, drug and alcohol violation records maintained in the Clearinghouse will “follow” the driver regardless of how many times he or she changes employers, seeks employment or applies for a CDL in a different State. The Clearinghouse will be administered and maintained in strict compliance with applicable Federal security standards. The Agency will comply with the consent requirements of the Privacy Act prior to releasing any driver's Clearinghouse record to an employer.
Employers and medical review officers (MROs), or their designated representatives, are required to report information about positive drug test results, alcohol test results greater than 0.04 blood alcohol content, refusals to test and other non-test violations of FMCSA's drug and alcohol regulations. In addition, Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs) are required to report information about drivers undergoing the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process. Employers must search the Clearinghouse for information during the pre-employment process for prospective employees and at least once a year for current employees to determine whether anyone has incurred a drug or alcohol violation with a different employer that would prohibit him or her from performing safety-sensitive functions."

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 81 FR 87686. (January 4, 2017)

Northland Occupational Health & DOT Compliance can help you navigate the Clearinghouse and all that is required to stay compliant with its implementation and also DOT required random drug and alcohol testing. Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding this ruling and how our Consortium management services can help keep you compliant with the new regulatory requirements coming January 6, 2020.


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