During its first year of implementation, over 56,000 drug and alcohol violations were reported to the FMCSA Clearinghouse. Of the reported violations, 82% were for positive drug tests.
This data and other statistics published in the Clearinghouse’s 2020 final summary report, reinforces the importance of the Clearinghouse for roadway safety.The FMCSA Clearinghouse is a secure, online database that provides employers, the FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and State law enforcement real-time information about CDL holders’ drug and alcohol program violations to stop prohibited drivers from operating a motor vehicle and endangering themselves or the lives of the motoring public.
Violations Reported to the Clearinghouse
Employers or their designated consortia/third-party administrators (c/TPA), and medical review officers (MROs) are required to report FMCSA drug and alcohol violations to the FMCSA Clearinghouse.
Employers are required to conduct queries in the Clearinghouse when hiring a new CDL holder and annually for all CDL drivers they currently employ to ensure there are no unresolved violations reported for the driver. If unresolved violations are identified, the employer cannot move forward with hiring the individual for a safety-sensitive position, or, if a current employee, must immediately remove the driver from safety-sensitive functions.
- 98% of the violations reported in 2020 were drug related, with over 45,000 total positive tests reported.
- Of these positive tests, the majority were pre-employment tests (53%), followed by random tests (38%).
- Marijuana (54%), cocaine (14%), methamphetamines (9%) and amphetamines (9%) were the top substances identified in positive drug tests.
- 83% of alcohol violations were for positive tests (concentration of 0.04 or higher), followed by refusals (24%).
- 55% of alcohol violations occurred during random tests, followed by reasonable suspicion tests (26%).
“The good news is that the system is working in capturing violations by drivers and allowing employers and enforcement personnel to verify a driver’s status prior to permitting him/her [to drive],” said Duane DeBruyne, an FMCSA spokesman. “Any violation reported is a bad thing; blocking prohibited drivers from endangering themselves and the lives of the motoring public is a good thing.”
FMCSA Clearinghouse Return-to-Duty Process
In addition to the drug and alcohol violations themselves, select milestones of a driver’s return-to-duty (RTD) process are recorded in the Clearinghouse. If a driver has a drug and alcohol violation recorded against him or her in the Clearinghouse, that driver must be removed from safety-sensitive functions until they have completed the RTD process.
- As of January 1, 2021, there were over 45,000 prohibited drivers in the FMCSA Clearinghouse.
- According to the Clearinghouse, over 75% of these prohibited drivers have not started the return-to-duty process to become eligible to perform safety-sensitive function again, including operating a CMV.
The Clearinghouse is making it more difficult for prohibited drivers to avoid the required return-to-duty process as prospective employers are aware of violations instantly through the pre-employment query. Industry leaders are hopeful that with continued education about drug and alcohol testing programs and consequences for noncompliance, the number of violations decreases and the number of drivers completing the return-to-duty process increases.
View the FMCSA Clearinghouse’s 2020 final summary report here.
For questions regarding the FMCSA Clearinghouse or assistance in meeting employer reporting and query responsibilities, contact TEAM Professional Services.