Carriers will have to pay the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration $1.25 per query into the looming Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which will compile records of all drivers who have failed or refused a drug or alcohol test.
Carriers, including small carriers who only employ a few drivers, can also buy query packages in bulk, to streamline the process. Though the bundles don’t cut costs — a bundle of 7,500 queries costs $9,375, for instance, and a bundle of 10 costs $12.50 — they don’t expire. The full bundle schedule can be seen at this link.
Starting Jan. 6, 2020, carriers will be required to query the database for all driver hires, as well as once a year for existing drivers.
FMCSA’s Joe DeLorenzo, director of enforcement and compliance, says the clearinghouse will end the manual process of carriers having to call drivers’ previous employers to inquire about drug and alcohol tests. However, carriers will need to continue that practice until 2023.
The clearinghouse will show records dating back five years, as well as whether a driver has completed the return to duty status after failing a drug test. If a driver does not complete the return to duty status, the record against him or her will remain in the clearinghouse forever, says DeLorenzo.
Carriers, including single-digit fleets, will need to open accounts in the clearinghouse, which will open for registration in November. Likewise, drivers will need to register as users so that they can consent to carrier queries within the database.