On December 2, FMCSA released its long-awaited final rule creating a national clearinghouse of drug and alcohol test results.

In this summary, ATA has laid out the finer point of the rule – which can be found on FMCSA’s website.

Among the rule’s highlights:

  • Motor carriers, designated service agents, medical review officers and substance abuse professionals must submit a variety of drug and alcohol test-related records to the clearinghouse.
  • Carriers, or their agents, are required to query the database before hiring a job applicant, and carriers must query the clearinghouse annually for information about their current driver pool.
  • There are two types of queries: A full query, which provides all the information about a driver’s test history, and a partial query which only indicates if the driver’s records are in the system and is to be used for the annual checkup.
  • The effective date of the rule is January 5, 2017 and the date for final compliance is January 6, 2020. In 2023, after three years of full operation, the clearinghouse will relieve carriers and drivers of the burden of retaining three years of testing records.

Nothing in this final rule will change or otherwise affect State or local drug and alcohol violation reporting requirements so long as they are compatible with this final rule. See 49 U.S.C. 31306a(l). Incompatible State or local requirements are subject to preemption. Each State will have to evaluate its own requirements to determine whether they are compatible with this final rule. With respect to the Clearinghouse reporting to States, at this time FMCSA is considering the most efficient way to share information with the SDLAs. There is a more complete discussion below of Agency efforts to coordinate information sharing with SDLA.

Information provided via ATA.