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FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Truck Driving by Lake

The Department of Transportation enforces rigorous regulations to uphold a drug-free environment in the workplace.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a branch within the United States Department of Transportation, exercises regulatory authority over the trucking industry and the motor coach bus sector in the U.S. A key aspect of these regulations, the CFR Part 382 of the FMCSA guidelines, is dedicated to the control and testing of alcohol and substance use. The objective of CFR Part 382 is to enact strategies aimed at mitigating accidents and injuries attributable to alcohol misuse or the consumption of controlled substances by commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators.

Individuals and organizations subject to the FMCSA CFR Part 382 regulations for alcohol and drug testing comprise those possessing a commercial driver's license and operating one or more of the following commercial motor vehicles:

  • Vehicles possessing a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating exceeding 26,001 pounds.

  • Vehicles equipped to accommodate 16 or more passengers, including the driver.

  • Vehicles of any size designated for the transport of hazardous materials that necessitate the vehicle to be placarded.


Violations of the FMCSA regulations for alcohol and drug testing by employers, including owner-operators, may result in civil or criminal penalties, with potential fines amounting to $10,000.00 per violation.

New operators undergo a new entrant examination to confirm regulatory compliance, with their operations being monitored throughout an initial 18-month operational period. During this time, the FMCSA will:

  • Execute a safety audit on the new entrant.

  • Evaluate safety performance through roadside inspections.

  • Bestow permanent authority, contingent upon safety assurance.

Compliance with the program directed at controlling alcohol misuse and the use of controlled substances is of paramount importance. A new entrant may instantly fail the safety audit due to infringements relating to:

  • Absence of an alcohol and/or drug testing program.

  • Lack of a random alcohol and/or drug testing program.

  • Employment of a driver who has refused a mandatory alcohol or drug test.

  • Employment of a driver known to have a blood alcohol content exceeding 0.04.

  • Employment of a driver who failed to complete obligatory follow-up procedures after testing positive for drugs.


Moreover, the FMCSA mandates both random testing and reasonable suspicion testing as part of the comprehensive alcohol and drug testing process.

Truck Car Park

The Types of FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing

Random Drug Testing for FMCSA (382.305)

Random drug testing forms a crucial part of your compliance program. Having a well-informed service provider is essential to ensure compliance with drug testing regulations. Employers should be aware they can be held accountable for service agent mistakes leading to civil penalties for noncompliance, even if errors stem from your drug testing provider.

As per DOT regulations, businesses are required to establish a random drug and alcohol testing program. The annual FMCSA drug testing rate must be 50% and the alcohol testing rate must be 10%, based on the average number of driver positions.

The selection should be performed using a scientifically valid method, with testing distributed reasonably throughout the year. If a company organizes testing through a consortium, the number of drivers to be tested can be calculated based on the total number of drivers within the consortium.

Random alcohol testing is only conducted on a driver when on duty, immediately prior to driving, or immediately after driving.

Owner-operators are required to join a random testing consortium. An FMCSA random testing consortium assists in efficiently managing the random testing process to ensure compliance with regulations in CFR Part 382.305. Learn more about our FMCSA DOT Clearinghouse Program.

Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing (382.307 and 382.603)

Reasonable suspicion drug testing under FMCSA regulations is an essential aspect of maintaining a safe workplace. A company may demand a driver undergo a drug or alcohol test if there's reasonable suspicion of a violation of the drug use or alcohol misuse rules defined in the regulations. This suspicion should be based on specific, immediate, clearly expressed observations about the driver's appearance, behavior, speech, or body odors.

The company official who determines that there's reasonable suspicion must have received at least 60 minutes of training on drug use and an additional 60 minutes on alcohol misuse. The individual making the determination should not be the one conducting an alcohol test.

Alcohol testing due to reasonable suspicion is permitted only if the observations are made and the test is conducted while the driver is on duty, just before driving, or immediately after driving.


Our supervisor training programs play a crucial role in the successful implementation of reasonable suspicion testing. The training for supervisors is a necessary component of an FMCSA DOT-compliant drug and alcohol program.

Other Testing Requirements

There are several key testing requirements in DOT FMCSA programs:

  • Pre-employment Testing: A negative drug test result is mandatory before allowing a CDL driver to operate a CMV (§382.301).

  • Post-accident Testing: Drug and alcohol tests may be necessary following crashes, as per the FMCSA criteria (§382.303).

  • Return-to-duty Testing: Necessary for drivers who tested positive, refused, or violated the prohibitions of 49 CFR Part 382 Subpart B and have completed the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional. A directly observed test with a negative result is required before resuming driving duties (§382.309 and §40.305).

  • Follow-up Testing: Mandatory for drivers who have tested positive, refused, or violated the prohibitions of 49 CFR Part 382 Subpart B, completed the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional, and have tested negative for a return-to-duty test. The substance abuse professional prescribes this testing with a minimum of six directly observed tests in 12 months, extendable up to four additional years (§382.311 and §40.307).


The FMCSA DOT drug testing program mandates laboratory testing (49 CFR Part 40 Subpart F) for five specific drug classes:

  • Marijuana

  • Cocaine

  • Opiates, including opium and codeine derivatives

  • Amphetamines and methamphetamines

  • Phencyclidine, or PCP.

Failing a Drug or Alcohol Test

A driver is considered to have failed a drug or alcohol test if they refuse to test, test positive in a drug test, or register an alcohol content of 0.04 or greater. These outcomes necessitate immediate removal of the driver from performing safety-sensitive duties, like driving commercial motor vehicles, until they successfully complete the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional.

At Premier Drug & DNA Testing Services, LLC, we cater to all sectors regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for drug and alcohol testing programs. Our clientele includes owner-operators, private fleets, for-hire carriers, trucking companies of all sizes, and bus companies, large and small. Contact us for immediate assistance in setting up an account.

Moving Truck

FMCSA Compliance Requirements - Who is Covered?

A common question we receive is regarding who needs to be included in the FMCSA DOT drug and alcohol testing program. The FMCSA guidelines state that anyone who operates a Commercial Motor Vehicle, as outlined in §382.107, within intrastate or interstate commerce, and who is subject to the CDL requirements of 49 CFR part 383, must be included. The §382.107 definition includes:

Commercial motor vehicle means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the vehicle

  • Has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds), whichever is greater; or

  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 or more pounds), whichever is greater; or

  • Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or

  • Is of any size and is used in the transportation of materials found to be hazardous for the purposes of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 5103(b)) and which require the motor vehicle to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F)


Keep in mind that simply possessing a CDL license doesn't automatically require inclusion in an FMCSA DOT drug and alcohol testing program. The individual must be operating a commercial motor vehicle as per the definitions above.

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FMCSA Required Training

FMCSA Trained Semi Truck Driver

Regulation 49 CFR 382.603 mandates that supervisors overseeing commercial motor vehicle drivers, who operate vehicles requiring a commercial driver license, must undergo 60 minutes of training on alcohol abuse symptoms and another 60 minutes on controlled substance use symptoms (a total of 120 minutes). The aim of this training is to equip supervisors with the knowledge to identify signs and situations that may suggest a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, justifying a referral for testing.

If you operate vehicles requiring a CDL on public roads and your company has more than one employee, DOT Supervisor Training is a must. Owner-operators are exempt from DOT supervisor training, but they are still required to enroll with a consortium for DOT drug and alcohol testing.

Employers regulated by the FMCSA are obligated to offer their drivers educational resources and guidelines relating to FMCSA DOT regulations on drug and alcohol use. The content required for drivers is outlined in FMCSA 382.61.

Premier Drug & DNA Testing Services, LLC provides a comprehensive solution for adhering to DOT FMCSA rules. We offer policies and procedures for our clients. 

Premier Drug & DNA Testing Services, LLC Can Help

Premier Drug & DNA Testing Services, LLC specializes in assisting with FMCSA compliance for drug and alcohol testing programs. Our extensive services encompass:

  • Developing a DOT-compliant written policy

  • Drug & Alcohol Testing

  • Pre-employment, post-accident, and reasonable suspicion drug tests

  • Consortium pool or standalone pool for random testing

  • Providing Certificates of Enrollment

  • Handling Federal Custody & Control Forms (CCF)

  • Facilitating employee education and supervisor training

  • Offering post-accident support and audit support

  • Providing 24/7 emergency testing support

  • Assisting with record maintenance

  • Preparing DOT mandated MIS reports

  • Offering a comprehensive online platform for complete management of testing program

  • Supplying all necessary forms and paperwork for DOT compliance


By choosing Premier Drug & DNA Testing Services, LLC for your drug and alcohol testing program, you can ensure compliance. Our dedicated team will guide you through your new entrant exam and any subsequent audit of your testing program.


FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse


Nationwide, employers are preparing for substantial updates in Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, marked by the implementation of the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) Clearinghouse rule. This rule, also known as the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (“Clearinghouse”) - 49 CFR Part 382, subpart G, became operational from January 6, 2020.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) officials assert that the Clearinghouse will enhance road safety by enabling employers, FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and State law enforcement to swiftly and effectively identify drivers who are not legally allowed to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) due to drug and alcohol program violations. This innovative, secure online database offers access to real-time data, ensuring drivers committing these violations complete all necessary steps before returning to driving or undertaking any other safety-sensitive roles.

The Role of the Clearinghouse

The primary objective of the newly implemented Clearinghouse is the enhancement of safety. With time, the Clearinghouse database will seal a dangerous loophole that has been manipulated since the 1990s. In alignment with Part 382.413 of the current DOT regulations, employers must adhere to a largely manual and paper-driven process to seek information from a driver's previous employer(s) over the past three years. Past employers, typically reached via fax, must supply any data pertaining to past drug and alcohol testing violations. These employment verification processes typically demand significant time, effort, record maintenance & retrieval for former employers, as well as reliable memory and absolute honesty from the drivers to function as an effective safety check.

In the past, a driver could incur a drug and alcohol testing violation with "trucking company A," be dismissed, and then apply at "trucking company B." When "trucking company B" requests past employer information from the prospective driver, the driver might conveniently omit their tenure at "trucking company A." Given the absence of a central repository for such information, drivers could circumvent the repercussions of failing a drug or alcohol test by merely withholding the information about their previous employer(s), leaving potential employers uninformed about past violations.

With the establishment of the Clearinghouse’s secure online database, employers and other authorized users will now have access to real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learners’ permit (CLP) holders' drug and alcohol program violations, thereby augmenting safety on our nation's roadways.

The FMCSA Clearinghouse plays a critical role for a range of personnel, including interstate and intrastate motor carriers, school bus drivers, construction equipment operators, limousine drivers, municipal vehicle drivers (such as waste management vehicles), and federal and state agencies employing drivers subject to FMCSA drug and alcohol testing regulations (for example, Department of Defense, public transit).


The data reported and stored within the FMCSA Clearinghouse encompasses:

  1. Verified positive results for controlled substance tests, including adulterated or substituted outcomes.

  2. Documentation of test refusal, incorporating no-show instances.

  3. Confirmed positive alcohol test results exceeding a .04 level.

  4. DUI citations incurred while operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV).

  5. DUI convictions received while operating a CMV.

  6. Reports indicating actual knowledge of illegal alcohol or drug usage.

  7. Negative return-to-duty test outcomes.

  8. Records demonstrating compliance with follow-up testing requirements.


By making this information readily accessible, the Clearinghouse enhances road safety and ensures FMCSA compliance.

The FMCSA Clearinghouse imposes fresh obligations for employers:

Company Registration - FMCSA regulated employers must initiate their company registration with the Clearinghouse immediately. The database uses your USDOT Number to extract your company details from other FMCSA systems. This registration is cost-free.

C/TPA Designation - Post-registration, employers working with consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs) need to officially designate them in the Clearinghouse before these administrators can access the database on the employer's behalf. Employers can also extend invites to “assistants” or other employees to access the Clearinghouse, prompting them to register under the company.

Pre-Employment Screening - Employers must execute comprehensive database queries to confirm that prospective hires for regulated roles have no outstanding positive test results.

Annual Screening - Employers need to conduct limited database queries at least once yearly for current drivers to ascertain if any Clearinghouse data exists regarding these employees. If any results surface from the limited query, a detailed database query becomes mandatory.

Additional employer responsibilities include:

  • Purchasing a suitable database Query Plan from the FMCSA.

  • Maintaining accessible CDL information (number & state of origin) in a driver file.

  • Adapting hiring processes to encompass consent from drivers for an initial detailed query and include specifics for reporting results to the Clearinghouse.

  • Reporting drug and alcohol testing violations to the Clearinghouse. This includes alcohol test results with a concentration of .04 or greater, refusal to undertake a drug or alcohol test, and any actual knowledge of a violation. Employers must also report negative return-to-duty (RTD) test results and successful completion of a driver’s follow-up testing plan. This data must be reported within three business days after being informed.

  • Providing training for the Designated Employer Representative (DER) and safety officers on the required documentation for reporting “actual knowledge” of drug or alcohol use while operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV).


Owner-operators or employers employing themselves as drivers must adhere to FMCSA drug and alcohol requirements applicable to both employers and drivers. Owner-operators must collaborate with at least one C/TPA and designate their C/TPA(s) in the Clearinghouse before they can access the database on their behalf. Similar to other employers, owner-operators can invite “assistants” or other employees to access the Clearinghouse under the company's name.

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