Department of Transportation Creates Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
Employers who hire commercial drivers will have an easier way to check for drug and alcohol infractions in the future. Per a report from Mondaq, the United States Department of Transportation recently announced plans to create a Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse will provide a database for employers to report or check drug and alcohol infractions for commercial drivers.
Under new rules established with the Clearinghouse, employers will be compelled to report any violations of the Department of Transportation’s drug and alcohol testing program to the Clearinghouse. The Department of Transportation requires drug and alcohol testing for companies that employ commercial drivers. Certain vehicles—such as large trucks—require a commercial driver’s license to drive. Employers with these types of vehicles in their fleet are subject to the DOT’s testing program. These employers will also be subject to the new Clearinghouse initiative.
Per coverage, employers will have to report commercial drivers to the Clearinghouse if they test positive for any drug use. In addition, reports are required for any alcohol tests that return a BAC of 0.04 or higher. An employer must report a driver to the Clearinghouse if they are aware that a driver is using alcohol or drugs on the job or if the driver declines to take a drug or alcohol test.
All requirements only apply to DOT-mandated drug and alcohol tests. If an employer chooses to run additional tests of their own volition, coverage explains, they are not legally required to report the findings to the Clearinghouse. If the employer is aware that a driver is using drugs or alcohol, but the usage is not impacting job performance, there is no obligation to report.
In addition to requiring employers to report information about commercial drivers to the Clearinghouse, the new Department of Transportation rules will require employers to run Clearinghouse searches. If an employer is hiring a driver to operate a vehicle that requires a CDL, he or she must run a query through the Clearinghouse database. As coverage explains, the database will help these employers to find out which drivers have histories of potentially dangerous alcohol or drug use. The Clearinghouse will inform employers about whether a driver has gone through the DOT’s required rehabilitation process.
As the DOT explained, the goal of the Clearinghouse is to make reporting and background checks for drug and alcohol use more effective in the commercial driving industry.
The requirements surrounding the Clearinghouse will not affect employers or drivers immediately. The Clearinghouse still needs to be built and employers will not have to start complying with the new rules until January 2020.