If you’re in charge of a trucking fleet, you’re likely familiar with the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse law taking effect January 6, 2020. You have your account and you’ve been testing your drivers as required under the law. But this change to the regulation means you need to change what you’re doing. As an employer, you may still have questions about your obligations under the law. Read on for answers to some of those questions.

First, what is the purpose of a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse? According to 49 CFR Vol 5 §382.101, the purpose is to “establish programs designed to help prevent accidents and injuries resulting from the misuse of alcohol or use of controlled substances by drivers of commercial motor vehicles.” The Clearinghouse will provide employers a central database for logging individuals who are prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

Next, when will we have to submit a query to the Clearinghouse? Employers will be required to query the database before allowing an employee to operate a CMV. This applies to both current and prospective employees. Employers must also submit an annual query on every driver they employ.

Another question you are likely asking is what information do I report to the Clearinghouse? To meet your obligations as an employer, you must report all drug and alcohol program violations. This includes alcohol tests with a concentration of 0.04 or greater, a driver’s refusal to submit to testing and actual knowledge of substance abuse. Employers must also report negative tests following successful completion of the Return-to-Duty process and the date of completion as ordered by a substance abuse professional.

Next, when do I need to submit a violation report to the Clearinghouse? You must submit a report of the violation by the close of the third business day following the date on which you obtained the violation information. So if drug test results are returned on Tuesday, you have until close of business on Friday to submit the report. If you fail to submit a report on time, the failure may come up during any operations and compliance investigations.

For more answers to questions about the Clearinghouse and its requirements, visit the Clearinghouse FAQ page at clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov/FAQ. Managing your drivers, your customers and all the day-to-day tasks can be overwhelming. Take one thing off your plate with full-service leasing from TEC Equipment.