The Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse has been in effect for over a year now. The Clearinghouse is an online database that provides employers and government agencies real-time access to information about CDL drug and alcohol violations. In this blog, we’ll discuss what the Clearinghouse is, who is required to use it, and how it is used to improve roadway safety. 

The information in this blog is sourced from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and USI Insurance Services Fleet Services Team Update of March 2021.


What is the Clearinghouse?

In December 2016, the Clearinghouse was developed as a way to better share drug and alcohol program violations. It established safety requirements and mandated that it take effect on January 6, 2020. Since then, employers are required to examine and report violations of employees in safety-sensitive positions in the Clearinghouse.

As a secure online database, the Clearinghouse contains information about CDL drug and alcohol violations. The information recorded is:

  • Records of violations of the FMCSA drug and alcohol testing program, such as positive drug or alcohol tests or refusals to test
  • Return-to-duty status and process of completion
  • Follow-up testing plan completion


Who is Required to Use the Clearinghouse?

It’s not just drivers who use the Clearinghouse. Here’s the full list of who is required to use the database:

  • Drivers with a Commercial Driver’s License or Commercial Learner’s Permit (e.g. interstate and intrastate motor carriers, school bus drivers, construction equipment operators, limousine drivers, and municipal vehicle drivers)
  • Employers of a Commercial Motor Vehicle operation
  • Medical review officers
  • Substance abuse professionals
  • Consortia/third party administrators
  • State driver licensing agencies


How is the Clearinghouse Used?

To access the Clearinghouse, users must register first. Once registered, you’ll be able to complete the following actions:

  • Record – Record drivers’ drug and alcohol violations and other related information. No violations prior to January 6, 2020 will be reported. Violations that happen after will stay in the database for 5 years or until the return-to-duty status is completed.
  • Consent – Employers request authorization to check drivers’ records, whether it’s provided or refused by the driver.
  • Query – Determine if the queried driver’s Clearinghouse contains information about violations.
  • Safety – Improve road safety by preventing CMV accidents.


How Does the Clearinghouse Improve Safety?

The Clearinghouse improves roadway safety by giving employers current, detailed information about drivers’ violations. With this information, employers can make better-informed decisions about who is qualified to work in safety-sensitive positions like truck driving. It ensures that drivers receive the required evaluation and treatment before hitting the road. Drivers can no longer conceal vital information like violations anymore, which allows employers to be in compliance with the FMCSA. 

In addition to pre-employment evaluations, employers are required to do annual random drug and alcohol testing of drivers regulated by another DOT agency. 



  • The Clearinghouse has 1,767,885 motor carrier accounts (some users register as multiple roles).
  • Out of the positive drug tests reported, marijuana was the top drug violation with 29,511 positive test results. Cocaine was the second with 7,940 positive test results.
  • Since its establishment, almost 52,000 drivers have had at least one violation entered into the Clearinghouse. 
  • For those who have committed a violation, 45,475 currently remain in a prohibited status. 6,513 are no longer in a prohibited status, but none have chosen to complete their follow-up testing plan.


Closing Thoughts

The Clearinghouse is a vital online tool that can keep us all safe while on the road. At Liquid Trucking, we prioritize safety and make sure that all of our drivers meet these standards. Our qualified team takes pride in providing the highest quality liquid transport service out of the Midwest. We are a leading hauler of food, agriculture, and hazmat liquid materials. If you’re looking for an experienced, trustworthy, and safe hauler, please give us a call at 844-GO-TANKS.