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6.5.2 Collecting Driver Drug and Alcohol Records

Employers must request alcohol and controlled substances information from previous employers in accordance with the requirements of 49 CFR 40.25. See 49 CFR 382.413 and 391.23(e). See also 6.1.2 Inquiry about Drug and Alcohol Tests.

The FMCSA Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) enables employers to identify CDL drivers who commit a violation while working for one employer, but who fail to subsequently inform another employer as required. Employers must conduct both electronic queries in the Clearinghouse and manual, offline inquiries to previous employers for pre-employment driver investigations until January 6, 2023. After January 6, 2023, a query in the Clearinghouse will satisfy this requirement.

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Query and Consent Process 

An employer is required to conduct pre-employment and annual queries in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse for all drivers subject to drug and alcohol testing under 49 CFR Part 382. This process is used to determine if current and prospective employees are prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, such as operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), due to unresolved drug and alcohol program violations. Per 49 CFR 382.703(a), employers must obtain consent from a driver before querying his or her Clearinghouse record; the type of consent depends on the query type. While drivers are not required to register for the Clearinghouse; a driver must be registered to provide electronic consent in the Clearinghouse if a prospective or current employer needs to conduct a full query of the driver’s Clearinghouse record—this includes all pre-employment queries.

For step-by-step instructions on how to conduct queries, view How to Conduct a Limited Query (Employers) and How to Conduct a Full Query (Employers). For additional information, view the Queries and Consent Factsheet and Query History (Employers). See also 6.5.4 Carrier Reporting Responsibilities When a Driver Tests Positive and 6.5.5 – Return-to-Duty Process and Testing (Under Direct Observation).

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