FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rulemaking Update

First published by FMCSA

Photo property of FMCSA

Clearinghouse Rule II

What It Means for Clearinghouse Users

On November 8, 2021, the second Clearinghouse final rule, Controlled Substances and Alcohol Testing: State Driver’s Licensing Agency Non-Issuance/Downgrade of Commercial Driver’s License; Correction, went into effect. This rule addresses how States are required to use the information in the Clearinghouse to help ensure that only qualified drivers are eligible to receive and retain a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Employer Requirements Have Not Changed

The second Clearinghouse rule does not change any of the requirements for employers to query CDL and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders and report drug and alcohol program violations. All requirements established by the first Clearinghouse rule, Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, remain in place. Download the brochures below to learn more about these requirements.

Update: Actual Knowledge of DUI Citations

The Clearinghouse second rule includes an update regarding actual knowledge violations. The following question and answer has been added to the Clearinghouse website to summarize this change.

If a CDL driver’s employer is aware that the driver received a traffic citation for driving a CMV while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, the employer must report this to the Clearinghouse as actual knowledge of prohibited use of drugs or alcohol. If the citation does not result in a conviction, may the driver petition to have this violation removed from their Clearinghouse record?

Effective November 8, 2021, an actual knowledge violation, based on the issuance of citation for DUI in a CMV, will not be removed from the Clearinghouse when the citation does not result in a conviction.

In the final rule published on October 7, 2021 (86 FR 55718), FMCSA clarified that a driver subject to FMCSA’s drug and alcohol use and testing requirements, who has been issued a traffic citation (or other charging document) for DUI in a CMV, has violated 49 CFR part 382, subpart B. Accordingly, the 2021 final rule amends the regulation to state that a report of actual knowledge of prohibited use of drugs or alcohol, based on the issuance of DUI in a CMV, will remain in the Clearinghouse for 5 years, or until the driver has completed the return-to-duty process, whichever is later, regardless of whether the driver is ultimately convicted of the DUI offense. Drivers who are not convicted of the offense may petition to submit documentary evidence of non-conviction to their Clearinghouse record.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

FMCSA gives states 60 days to downgrade licenses of CMV drivers with drug, alcohol violations

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — State driver’s licensing agencies will have 60 days to initiate mandatory downgrades of commercial driver’s licenses and commercial learner’s permits once notified that a commercial motor vehicle operator has failed a drug or alcohol test, under a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration final rule set to go into effect Nov. 8.

FMCSA contends that the rule plugs both a “knowledge gap” and “loophole” in present regulations, which prohibit SDLAs from issuing, renewing, upgrading and transferring CDLs or CLPs for drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol until those drivers complete FMCSA’s return-to-duty process.

“Currently, most SDLAs do not receive drug and alcohol program violation information about CDL or CLP holders licensed in their state,” the rule states. “Therefore, these SDLAs are unaware when a CMV operator is subject to the driving prohibition … and the CMV operator continues to hold a valid CDL or CLP despite the driving prohibition.”

SDLAs are required to consult FMCSA’s online Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which provides real-time national data on CMV drivers who have failed drug and alcohol tests, before issuing or renewing licenses. They will have until Nov. 18, 2024, to comply with the new rule.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

Marijuana tops list of substances identified in CMV drivers’ failed drug tests: FMCSA

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Photo: vitpho/iStockphoto

Washington — The first report to use data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse shows that, from the database’s Sept. 28 launch through May, marijuana was the most common substance found in positive drug and alcohol tests among commercial motor vehicle drivers.

The national online database – aimed at enhancing road safety by providing, in real time, the names of CMV drivers who fail drug and alcohol tests – identified 10,388 positive tests for marijuana. Cocaine (3,192) and methamphetamine (2,184) were the next most common substances detected.

Under federal regulations, motor carriers must conduct pre-employment drug testing in addition to random testing. Employees who test positive are prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, which includes operating a CMV.

According to the report, 19,849 CMV drivers had at least one violation and were unable to operate until completing the return-to-duty process – including 15,682 drivers who had yet to begin the process.

In an article published June 15 in the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s Land Line magazine, Amber Schweer, supervisor of OOIDA’s drug and alcohol consortium, said the legalization of marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational use in numerous states may be complicating the problem.

“There is a huge misconception that just because it is legal on the state level that it will be OK on the federal level,” Schweer said. “That is not the case.”

CBD products also figured to factor into the findings, Schweer added. In a Feb. 18 policy and compliance notice, the Department of Transportation cautioned that CBD products may contain higher levels of THC – the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – than DOT allows in a controlled substance. DOT added that CBD use is not a “legitimate medical explanation” for a safety-sensitive employee who tests positive for marijuana.

“There are so many companies that claim you won’t test positive using their product when in reality they cannot guarantee that,” Schweer said. “Drivers are not heeding the warnings that are put out there and, unfortunately, are facing expensive and detrimental consequences to their career.”

Overall, the clearinghouse observed 21,156 positive tests for substance misuse among CMV drivers during the reporting period. Multiple substances can appear in positive tests, FMCSA notes in the report, which does not include the total number of tests conducted. Future reports are set to be released monthly. Employers made more than 905,000 queries into the clearinghouse since it was fully implemented Jan. 6.