FMCSA Annual Driver Drug, Alcohol Record Queries Must be Completed By Jan. 5

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires employers to conduct an annual inquiry of drug and alcohol records of every CDL driver under their employment.

This requirement applies to both petroleum marketers and heating fuel dealers who employ CDL drivers.

The FMCSA requires employers to use the agency’s new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to conduct these inquiries. The FMCSA Clearinghouse is a searchable electronic database containing CDL driver drug and alcohol records from January 6, 2020 forward.

Employers are required to use the database to upload driver drug and alcohol records and to conduct mandatory pre-employment and annual driver drug and alcohol record investigations.

In order to do this, employers must first establish an account with the Clearinghouse and pay fees for mandatory databases searches.

More information on how to do this is available in an EMA Compliance Bulletin issued earlier this year when the Clearinghouse was established.

 Employer responsibilities for conducting mandatory annual CDL driver drug and alcohol record inquiries include the following:

— Employers who have not yet conducted an annual query on each CDL driver employed during 2020 must do so by January 5, 2021.

— Employers may conduct the queries or designate a third-party vendor to do so (typically the vendor responsible for conducting the employer’s driver drug and alcohol testing program).

— A “limited query” of the Clearinghouse database satisfies the annual query requirement.

— Employers who have already conducted a query on all currently employed CDL drivers has met the annual FMCSA annual Clearinghouse inquiry requirement. The next query is due one year from the date of the previous annual query.

— Employers can log in to their Clearinghouse accounts and access their Query History page (under My Dashboard) to verify which drivers already queried, and the date the query was conducted.

— Employers must first obtain a general consent from CDL drivers before conducting limited queries drug and alcohol record. Download a sample limited query consent form here.

— Before an employer can conduct queries in the Clearinghouse, the employer must purchase a query plan to pay for Clearinghouse transactions. Purchase a Clearinghouse query plan here.

— Any pre-employment drug and alcohol record query conducted on a driver during calendar year 2020 will satisfy the annual query requirement for that driver. Employers are not required to query drivers on which they conducted a pre-employment query until one year after the initial pre-employment query.

— A fact sheet on Clearinghouse database searches may be found here: Clearinghouse Queries.

— EMA Staff Contact: Mark S. Morgan, Regulatory Counsel

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