If You Employ CDL Drivers, You’re Going To Need A Query Plan For The Drug And Alcohol Clearinghouse

With the registration for the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse a few months away, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced the Query Plan options for employers conducting queries in the Clearinghouse.

The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is designed to help monitor drivers that are not legally permitted to operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) due to drug or alcohol violations. The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will be used to enforce the rules already in place regarding drug and alcohol testing.

"This secure online database will provide access to real-time information, ensuring that drivers committing these violations complete the necessary steps before getting back behind the wheel, or performing any other safety-sensitive function," states the FMCSA.

In the Fall of 2019, registered employers can begin to purchase their Query Plan directly from the FMCSA Clearinghouse. Come January of 2020 it will be mandatory for employers to query and report information in the Clearinghouse database regarding driver's drug and alcohol violations.

Why do Employers need a Query Plan?

In order to conduct queries in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, employers of CDL drivers and for owner-operators, consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs), must purchase a Query Plan.

The final Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse regulation requires that employers conduct queries:

  • Pre-employment
  • Annually for employed CDL drivers

The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will contain records of violations, including positive drug or alcohol test results and refusals. The Clearinghouse will also include the record of a driver's Return-to-duty process.

In order to gain access to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, you must be registered with the FMCSA. Driver's may access their personal information at anytime; however, they are not privy to every driver's information.

Driver's information will not be available to the public. In order for a driver's information to be disclosed, they must consent. When an employer requests a driver's record, that driver will be notified and must approve the release of information.

There are 2 types of queries:

  • Limited Queries check for the presence of information in the queried driver’s Clearinghouse record. Driver consent is obtained outside the Clearinghouse.
  • Full Queries disclose to employers and C/TPAs detailed information about any resolved or unresolved violations in a driver’s Clearinghouse record. The driver’s specific electronic consent in the Clearinghouse is required.

Query Plans

  • $1.25 Flat per query rate
  • Bundle options available based on individual business needs
  • Queries never expire
  • Suggested to purchase enough queries to cover your current employees and additional query plans are readily available

For more information regarding Query Plans and The Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, click here.