On January 6, 2023 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will turn three years old. This is good news for the industry because it means that motor carriers will no longer be required to contact CDL driver applicants’ previous employers to request drug and alcohol history information. Instead, they can rely on the Clearinghouse to provide the needed information.

Even so, some have expressed reservation that relying solely on the Clearinghouse for this information could mean unwittingly hiring ineligible drivers whose information has been reported to the database. To those, STC points to the data FMCSA publishes on Clearinghouse usage to allay concerns. Since its inception, over 3 million drivers and 425,000 employers, including 227,000 owner-operators, have registered with the Clearinghouse. Over 4.5 million unique CDL holders have been queried and 156,510 drivers currently have violations listed. These numbers represent near full deployment and should help ease concerns about missing data.

Of course, if a driver applicant operated a CMV requiring a CDL for an employer regulated by another mode (FTA or FRA for example) then hiring carriers must contact previous employers to obtain drug and alcohol history information, but these circumstances are the exception not the rule.

Be on the lookout for a belated holiday present from the Clearinghouse early in 2023 as well. FMCSA is currently working on a new feature which will proactively notify carriers if any of the driver records they’ve queried in the last year are populated with new information. This notification service should significantly relieve the risk of dispatching a driver who has tested positive for another carrier since the last query. So, let’s celebrate. Our lives may get just a little easier in 2023.