Logo courtesy Metro magazine

Logo courtesy Metro magazine

A version of this story appeared on Metro magazine, School Bus Fleet’s sister publication.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) identified nearly 8,000 positive substance abuse tests of commercial drivers since it opened its Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse in January.

The FMCSA released data showing that the clearinghouse detected and identified nearly 8,000 positive substance abuse tests of commercial drivers since Jan. 6, according to a news release from the agency. The clearinghouse now has more than 650,000 registrants.

“We’ve seen encouraging results from the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, but there’s still work to do to ensure we identify more drivers who should not be behind the wheel,” said Jim Mullen, the FMCSA’s acting administrator. “The clearinghouse is a positive step, and the agency continues to work closely with industry, law enforcement, and our state partners to ensure its implementation is effective.”

As previously reported, the clearinghouse is a secure online database that allows the FMCSA, employers of CDL drivers, state driver licensing agencies, and law enforcement officials to identify, in real time, CDL drivers who have violated federal drug and alcohol testing program requirements. The purpose of the clearinghouse is to ensure that such drivers receive the required evaluation and treatment before they can resume driving. FMCSA’s website for the clearinghouse contains important resources, including user brochures and instructional aids with step-by-step registration instructions for all users.

Those required to register for the clearinghouse include:

•    Employers of commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders, or their designated service agents, as well as medical review officers who report drug and alcohol program violations that occurred on or after Jan. 6.
•    Employers or their designated service agents who conduct required queries, which inform them whether prospective or current employees have drug and alcohol program violations in their clearinghouse records. Employers must purchase a query plan before conducting queries in the clearinghouse. Query plans may only be purchased from the FMCSA clearinghouse website.
•    Drivers who respond to employer consent requests or would like to view their clearinghouse record when applying for a job.
•    Substance abuse professionals who report on the completion of driver initial assessments and driver eligibility for return-to-duty testing for violations committed on or after Jan. 6.

There is no cost for registration. Commercial drivers are not required to immediately register for the clearinghouse but will need to register to respond to an employer’s request for consent prior to a pre-employment query or other full query being conducted. In addition, employers must be registered during the first year of implementation to ensure they are able to conduct the required annual query on all employed drivers.

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