FMCSA Grants 3-Year Delay in Clearinghouse Requirements

FMCSA Grants 3-Year Delay in Clearinghouse Requirements

The online database is open but off to a rocky start due to connectivity issues.

Under the Clearinghouse regulations FMCSA first adopted in 2016 the state agencies were slated to meet the requirements on the same date as employers — January 6, 2020. State licensing agencies now have until January 6, 2023, although they may choose to voluntarily request clearinghouse information now. The online database is up and running but employers have complained about errors or slow loading times.


The Clearinghouse site even posted a notice that say:

“Notice: If you are an employer currently experiencing technical difficulties accessing the Clearinghouse and are unable to conduct required pre-employment queries, you may hire a driver using solely the procedures set forth in 49 CFR 391.23(e). Once FMCSA has determined and announced that users are able to access the Clearinghouse, pre-employment queries must also be conducted as required by section 382.701(a).”


The Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse program is a new database that will contain testing and violation information from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on CDL holders.

The Clearinghouse allows employers to see any positive drug or alcohol test results, test refusals, and any CDL drivers with driving restrictions. It also helps to ensure those drivers get the necessary treatment required to be allowed to return to duty.

In order to ensure that employers are up to date on CDL drivers’ history, Clearinghouse records of drug and alcohol program violations will stay on a driver’s record for five years, or until the driver has completed the necessary treatment program.


Here are a few key things to note about the final rule:

  • The final rule doesn’t change any of the Department of Transportation’s existing requirements.
  • State licensing agencies will refer to the information in the clearinghouse before completing licensing transactions, such as issuance, renewal, transfer and upgrade of a commercial driver’s license.
  • Clearinghouse information will not be available to the public.
  • Employers are required to register and perform a full query of the site for each driver each year with the driver’s consent.
  • An owner-operator who employ themselves as CDL drivers is subject to the requirements pertaining to employers, as well as those pertaining to drivers.
  • Employee drivers are not required to register in the clearinghouse unless they are applying for a position with another company or if they have had previous violations.

Costs Associated:


Registration for the clearinghouse is free of charge for electronic use, and can be done at


There are two types of queries. One is the limited query done to check to see if a driver has a clearinghouse record and a full query which provides the employer with detailed information about any resolved or unresolved violation in their record.


>> See the Clearinghouse Fact Sheet for more information.


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