Q: It has been brought to my attention that as an employer of CDL drivers, we are now required to register with the Drug and Alcohol Clearing House. Is this true, and if so, what does it entail?
A: Yes, it is true. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration now requires all employers of CDL drivers to register with the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.
As of January 6, 2020, all school districts employing Commercial Driver’s License (“CDL”) and Commercial Learner’s Permit (“CLP”) holders are required to register with the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Employers of CDL holders will also be responsible for accessing the Clearinghouse and verifying an applicant’s status before hiring a prospective CDL driver and then annually thereafter for all employed CDL drivers. 49 C.F.R. § 382.701. The Clearinghouse contains records of violations of drug and alcohol prohibitions contained within the Code of Federal Regulations, including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals. The benefit of this database is that it will give the employer real-time information about a CDL and CLP holder’s drug and alcohol program violations.
In addition to employers registering with the Clearinghouse, all CDL holders individually must register as well. Current employees holding a CDL must register to give electronic consent to their employer(s) to run the required annual query. This should occur as soon as possible. Additionally, those applying for positions in your district requiring a CDL will have to be in the registry before their application can be considered. You’ll want to ensure that both your transportation director and human resource representatives are fully aware of this obligation. And while there is no deadline, certainly if you have not already done so, your district needs to register with the Clearinghouse and notify all current bus drivers and coaches/sponsors with a CDL of their registration responsibilities. Be sure to document and maintain evidence of compliance with each search.
For more information on the new clearinghouse rules, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released guidance and Frequently Asked Questions, which can be found on their website at https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/. For specific questions concerning the application of the new rules to your district, contact your school attorney.