Back in 2017, the trucking industry was racing to become compliant with the ELD mandate. The ELD mandate came from the MAP-21 Act of 2012, but was only part of the overall plan. Along with electronic logging devices, there was also an allowance for a drug and alcohol clearinghouse. The drug and alcohol clearinghouse will launch on January 6, 2020.
What is the drug and alcohol clearinghouse?
The drug and alcohol clearinghouse will be a huge database that will hold information on professional truck drivers. The data will include all records of failed drug and alcohol tests. If drivers fail tests during employment screenings, after crashes or traffic accidents, or random spot checks, that information will be stored in the drug and alcohol clearinghouse. But the drug and alcohol clearinghouse is an important tool for both truckers and carriers alike.
How will the drug and alcohol clearinghouse work?
As a centralized database, the drug and alcohol clearinghouse will be accessed by carriers whenever they have a new prospective driver. The queries will show if specific drivers have any failed tests or refusals attached to their records, spanning back three years. Employers will not be able to search the clearinghouse without the driver’s consent. However, drivers can only give consent if they are registered in the clearinghouse. In 2020, carriers will be required to upload any and all notifications of failed drug and alcohol tests.
Will there be mandatory registration?
Not at first. Obviously, if drivers are making life-long careers at one company or are nearing retirement, registering with the clearinghouse would serve no purpose. However, the trucking industry experiences very high turnover rates, and any driver looking for a job after January 6, 2020 will have to register with the drug and alcohol clearinghouse. Looking ahead from the initial date to 2023, manual inquiries to previous employers will be a thing of the past, and carriers will only have to query the clearinghouse database to get information on drivers before they are hired.
The drug and alcohol clearinghouse already has a website where drivers and carriers can get more detailed information about how it works and how the information is used. Registration is set to begin in October, but once 2020 comes around, the clearinghouse will be in full swing and enforced.