Driver database rule made official: FMCSA unveils rule to implement drug/alcohol clearinghouse

| February 12, 2014

drug testA proposed rule establishing a database of CDL holders who have failed or refused to take a drug test will soon be published, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Feb. 12.

The Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, as it’s known, will implement the database and require carriers to upload positive drug test results to FMCSA and require them to query the database when hiring drivers. 


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A DOT report from earlier in the week said a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will be published Friday, Feb. 14. The rule cleared the White House’s Office of Management and Budget Jan. 28, clearing the way for its publication. 

The rule is required by the current MAP-21 highway funding act. An implementation date for the rule has not been made public yet.

In addition to reporting to FMCA failed and refused drug and alcohol test results, carriers would be required to query the database on an annual basis for current driver employees and report traffic citations for drivers cited for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Owner-operators, who are required by law to participate in random drug testing via a consortium, must report to FMCSA the consortium or third-party drug test administrator it uses and authorize it to submit information on any of its drivers, including themselves, to the database. 

“We are leveraging technology to create a one-stop verification point to help companies hire drug and alcohol-free drivers,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro. “This proposal moves us further down the road toward improving safety for truck and bus companies, commercial drivers and the motoring public everywhere.”

Carriers would be required to obtain written consent from drivers before querying the clearinghouse and before accessing information within. If a driver refuses to give written consent, he or she would not be permitted to drive. 


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Drivers will be allowed to appeal results by requesting administrative review by submitting a written request and a written explanation of why he or she thinks the clearinghouse has erred. FMCSA would then make a decision within 60 days.

If a driver successfully completes the return-to-duty process after failing a drug test, positive results will remain accessible for either three or five years, per FMCSA’s proposed rule.

If a driver does not complete the return-to-duty process, the information will remain in the clearinghouse indefinitely.

If in a situation that a DUI arrest does not lead to a conviction, FMCSA would be required to remove a driver’s information from the database within two business days.

FMCSA says it hopes to have two levels of queries — full queries and limited queries. Full queries would allow carriers to access to see reportable information in a driver’s record and would require written consent from a driver.

The limited query would not allow carriers access to specific reportable information, but would only allow whether there is information in the database about a driver.

The limited query would be primarily used for the annual current employee screenings, FMCSA says, while the full query would be for pre-employment queries.

FMCSA will be required to report information back to a carrier within seven days of a query.

Carriers will be required to submit their DOT numbers and the name of the person or persons they authorize to access the clearinghouse, and that information would be updated annually, per the rule.

FMCSA says the rule will result in a$187 million in annual societal benefits, but it will also cost the industry about $186 million annually, it says. Carriers will spend $28 million annually to perform the required annual query and $10 million in pre-employment queries, FMCSA estimates, but the bulk of the costs comes in an estimated $101 million in drivers going through the return-to-duty process.

The agency will accepting public comment on the proposed rule 60 days from its publication in the Federal Register.

Public comments can be made via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at; via fax, 202-493-2251; by mail, Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, D.C., 20590; or hand delivered to the same address. All public comments must use the docket number FMCSA-2010-0031.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has said it opposes the rule. 

  • Stormy

    $186 million, $187 million, $10 million, $28 million, $101 million…. Just as long as they aren’t wasting money then all is well. But $101 million for the return to duty status.. how much will it cost a driver who is mistakenly put on the list besides the 60 days off duty? They can’t get tickets off your CSA record when it is a mistake. Maybe they need to stop making new rules until they can fix the existing problems.

  • norman ott

    Looks likes someone else is going to make a bundle on the backs of truckers

  • Barney

    If it is so called written consent and the driver refuses and can’t drive then what the F*&k is the purpose of the consent…It becomes another demand by the effin idiots at DOT and FMSCA all supposedly in the name of safety.

  • Barney

    I agree with you, but there is no way the idiots at FMSCA and the DOT are going to stop. It is the 1,000 pound gorilla in the room.

  • Truckertwotimes

    Well Well Well, they’ve been doing this to Truck Drivers since 1986 that I know of, it’s too bad they haven’t done this to the one’s running the Country then we wouldn’t have had the big Bankster Bail Outs and the Foreclosure Scams….

  • Dr Junky

    Why don’t they drug test doctors perform surgery. A doctor can get their hands on any drugs at any time but they can open you or I up and possible be higher that any kite could fly. Isn’t that comforting you go under the knife. How about a registered nurse. Same thing. How come only truckers have to be drug tested. Bullshit

  • NikoT

    And about FMCSA, their GOV, I don’t trust them, and if they screw up, they well run a drivers Life!

  • NikoT

    We The People Need a New Goverment, It’s time to take down this old dog.

  • Truckertwotimes

    Don’t forget the nsa and their families are exempt from this as well

  • Truckertwotimes

    If you stop at the Jessup MD Truck Stop, beware of the back row on the south end, just sayin

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  • David S. McQueen

    James Jaillet (the author of the above article) claims the NPRM would be published Feb. 14. I subscribe to the FR index (published daily on-line) and there’s nothing about the CDL D&A Clearing house today (Feb. 14). Well, James, you get no valentine from me. And maybe you better check your sources; they may just be blowing wind up your skirt.

  • Joseph Morris

    A Federal Driver Database is a wonderful way of stopping Driver ability to work. Anyone who has tried to correct wrong information finds at least two problems;; The company will not tell you what was reported. If you find out and ask for proof or a correction you are told they are reporting what they were told and do not have to verify or correct what they report- and they want to know where you got the information so they can drop that customer. I always ask for a copy of the report to be sent to me. If I do not get the job and do not receive a copy of the report I call the labor board and make a complaint.Joseph

  • Bruce at

    I certainly don’t support driving a truck or any other motor vehicle while stoned. That said, I would hope that FMCSA is instituting mandatory pee testing for ALL its officials, at least a few of whom appear to be deprived of common sense – which of course, could be caused by regularly ingesting harmful substances. I now suspect that the water in DC may be harmful to rational thought and may cause addicted DC water drinkers to disrespect our Constitutionally recognized freedoms.

  • Bruce at

    Denizens of DC are exempt from most of the nonsense they unconstitutionally impose on those of us who pay the bills. Insider trading as an example. How dumb is that? You’re right about that back row…shameful what NSA does back there.

  • Bruce at

    10-4 to that Niko.

  • Truckertwotimes

    Just a Government period would be an improvement, also lets see them and their Constituents hair folicle drug tests.

  • wishbone

    what a load of sh-t .more pig brother bull .let the mex have all the jobs that way they can haul the stuff from their country

  • Robert

    They need to drug test everybody not just Drivers. This includes the clowns in the White House and DOT officers too.

  • greasy terd

    Can anyone explain to me how are they able to tell you that you cant drive if have failed a drug test when your cdl is valid and your not disqulaified like u r when your phsyical is expired. By law they can not tell u that u cant drive after u failed a drug test or if they could your cdl would b suspended. It is against the law in the u s for anyone to drug test violates your legal rights. Why and how are these fucken assholes getting away with this bulshit. I wish like hell a civil war would break out and us american people would stand up and fight for our land and our rights

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